Quotes Uncovered: Who First Said "If You Can't Beat Em … "
Each week, I’ve been inviting readers to submit quotations for which they want me to try to trace the origin, using The Yale Book of Quotations and my own research. Here is the latest round:
If you can’t beat them, join them.
The Yale Book of Quotations, which attempts to trace all famous quotations to their earliest findable occurrence, lists this as a proverb. The earliest citation given, in the form “If you can’t lick ’em, jine ’em,” is from the Atlantic Monthly, February 1932, where it is described as one of Senator James E. Watson‘s “favorite sayings.”
Hayley Lauren asked:
I have been trying to find the roots of this quote, and if this is its original form:
“There have only ever been four or five stories in this world, we just tell them in different forms.”
This thought has probably been expressed by many people. The best-known version is from Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (1913): “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”
I remember seeing a phrase a long time ago that went something along the lines of “If it were not for women, all the money in the world would be worthless.” Just curious if I am remembering it correctly and who said it.
The YBQ has the following:
“If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.” Aristotle Onassis, quoted in Barbara Rowes, The Book of Quotes (1979).
Next week: My long-awaited response to questions about the origin of “the whole nine yards”!
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?