Celebrity worship isn't just an allegiance to a favorite celebrity, it's now a syndrome.
October 26, 2012
Aesop said, “Appearances are often deceiving."
That utterance morphed into:
“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
(Although nobody knows who said it.)
Noted contrarian Oscar Wilde, recently embraced by the Vatican, just turned it around:
“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”
Maxims or aphorisms aren't as much written, as rewritten.
In the “World in a Phrase," James Geary makes the point that in ancient times, when few could read and write, the culture of the world was oral. A wise saying was passed on down the generational line until it became an aphorism.
Anyone wanting to write or rewrite a few should keep in mind the basic rules:
Keep it short, definitive and personal. It should have a twist, some hidden meaning or surprise. And it must be philosophical, forcing you to contemplate how universal truths are hidden in the particulars of daily life.
Buddha, still, is one the best quotes:
“A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”
Bernard Baruch, quite a few years later, just made it more succinct:
“Successful people all do more listening than talking.”
Motto: "If we steal thoughts from the moderns, it will be cried down as plagiarism; if from the ancients, it will be cried up as erudition."
I believe that was Charles Caleb Colton.
This from Ayn Rand, who, sort of admits, as a "genius," she stole this thought, and others, from someone else:
“A genius is an intellectual scavenger and a greedy hoarder of the ideas which rightfully belong to society, from which he (or she) stole them.”
Abraham Lincoln said: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
Did he get it from George Eliot who said:
“Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Or Benjamin Franklin?
“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. "
Mark Twain just made it folksier:
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. "
All succeeding in claiming it for posterity.
Who said it first doesn't seem to matter anymore.
As long as you say it.
A point, I'm sure, somebody has made before.