Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A Quote about Quotes

I understand that Dorothy L. Sayers, through her fictional character Lord Peter Wimsey, once said ...

'I always have a quotation for everything. It saves original thinking.'

(I put it this way because I have heard this quotation attributed to each independently - as if a fictional character and its creator could be entirely independent.)

I know a man of whom that can also be said - except that his quotes are contained in a series of books of quotations I once saw on a shelf in his office. This man frequently makes public speeches and has the habit of prefacing some of the quotations he uses with something like: 'I am reminded of the saying by ...'
I once counted thirteen different quotations in the same speech! I wasn't impressed or fooled. All the references to learned people were simply to make him look learned by association. He even used the clever ploy of giving a quote by somebody whose name he had 'forgotten'. The implication was that his head was so full that some things had been squeezed to the margins and were currently inaccessible. The author of that quote, it turned out, was very easy to trace had he bothered. But why bother trying when not trying makes you look good?