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Sometimes a Zullo is just a Zullo

and other dubious quotations

The title to this article has been lurking for some time looking for a story. I’ve written so much about Cold Case Posse Commander Mike Zullo lately (and the unlicensed practice of psychiatry is against this site’s rules) that I really didn’t want another Zullo article, so this isn’t about him, but it does relate to the oft-cited quotation attributed to Sigmund Freud, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” (and not a phallic symbol).

My researches on that quotation lead me to an interesting web site called Quote Investigator published by Dr. Garson O’Toole. The site is a massive collection of research on quotations and I would now put it at the top of my list for quote attribution checking. I’ll keep you in suspense no longer: O’Toole has been unable to verify the cigar quote as an authentic saying of Freud.

Another quotation of special interest to me is one that it widely cited in books and articles, attributed to George Orwell:

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

While the sentiment might be a good summary for Orwell’s book 1984, the quotation is not from there, nor has it been found anywhere else in Orwell’s writings, despite several peoples’ efforts to find it, reports Quote Investigator. The reason that it is interest to me, of course, is that it appears in the #2 spot on the masthead of Orly Taitz’ web site.


I find it remarkable that all three of the quotations Taitz has at the top of her blog are fake attributions. I concluded that the other two were fake in my article last year, “Apocryphal quotes on Taitz web site,” where I noted Loren Collins’ research on the faux Gandhi quote in his book Bullspotting. I don’t think that it is just a coincidence that Taitz is batting zero both for quotes on her web site, and for her anti-Obama lawsuits. A basic disregard for fact checking underlies them both.

Faux quote challenge

Here’s a contest that I announce with just a little trepidation. The idea is to come up with a “quotation” that you attribute to a historical figure, only it has to be fake.

If you need examples, you probably need go no further than your email inbox, or Facebook—or you could also visit the Orly Taitz blog:

imageThe first and third are bogus. I think the second is questionable—widely quoted, but never with a source. I wrote about them in my article “Apocryphal quotes on Taitz web site.”

My fear is that one of the better entries may some day find itself in my email inbox.

Long memory

I’m starting a new page under the Features menu called “Long Memory.” On it, I want to collect some of the things birthers have said in the past, that didn’t work out as seen in retrospect. I started the collection with a quote from Joseph Farah saying that he thought Obama wouldn’t run for re-election in 2012, and that he was certain Obama wouldn’t win.

What’s your favorite?