I'm on record as being a fan of your Reader columns, and the 8/22 edition
gives me no reason to change that status. What caught my eye was that
you "agreed with Voltaire's admonition" that "I disapprove of
say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Well,... no. Actually, the quote wasn't attributed to Voltaire until
1906, and even that was by accident: Evelyn Hall said she only used that
line to sum up Voltaire's attitude and would "be much surprised" if he
ever said it, much less verbatim.
My apologies if you already knew this and were merely attributing the
quote to Voltaire for the sake of convenience. (Could-Be-Worse-Dept: I
recently corrected Ed Raymond for "remembering" when Charlie Wilson
"What's good for Gen. Motors is good for the country." I pointed
that he couldn't--or shouldn't--remember a phrase that was never spoken.
He chose not to respond, and I chose to interpret his silence as
I will give you credit, however, for knowing that the phrase is "champing
at the bit." Bonus points are awarded if you ever use the phrase
I did look the quote up in Roget's before I quoted it but it wasn't there.
That's not surprising since he didn't say it. I think I found it attributed to
him afterwards in a search of the net. So much for the net.
Actually I have used the phrase "stomping grounds" so you see its easy
for me to get information garbled. I know exactly what you mean about getting
quotes right, however. In Republican circles Lincoln's
Ten can nots gets lots of attention - only he didn't say them.
I stand corrected on Voltaire but its still a great quote.