Scare Quotes


Some statements simply are better if a certain famous person said them. ~ Gary Saul Morson

I have always been intrigued by quotes, despite their often half-baked oversimplifications of concepts, usually of life and love. The part that fascinates me most is the multitude of contradictions offered, usually by people on opposite sides of an argument, but not too rarely by comrades, or even occasionally by the same people.

Those that quote those that are quoted refer to such quotes that echo within their own thought chambers as a vindication of their already held opinion, where the quote's original intent may have been no more than a witty comeback.

Sometimes, more scarily, the quotee was trying to make quite the opposite point from the quoter.

Nowhere are these contradictions more on the nose than with famous quotations about quotations. Except for politics, maybe, but who wants to ramble about political wordplay!

Exhibit 1
(A) quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business. ~ A.A. Milne

Exhibit 2

I like a writer who is original enough to water his garden with quotations, without fear of being drowned out. ~ Henry Van Dyke

In retrospect, perhaps, this blog post was unnecessary, as the point has somewhat been made by a great author of our times.
Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we're quoting. ~ John Green
But then again, anything worth doing might just be worth overdoing!
Be careful--with quotations, you can damn anything. ~ Andre Malraux