Monday, February 12, 2007

Some much-needed context for the art of quotation

Louis Menand in the New Yorker, reviewing and reflecting on the "Yale Book of Quotations." An interesting review, and he doesn't even name the subject of his review until several quote-loaded grafs in.

My interest in memorable quotes began with "They Said It: 200 of the Funniest Sports Quips and Quotes," a book of great sports quotations released by Sports Illustrated in 1990 (reissued in 2000). In this book, I first encountered many of Yogi Berra's odd, contradictory sayings, a few of which Menand references in his review.

The last graf of the review contains the punchline to a much-loved joke, one I had not heard until my junior year of college, I believe (thank you, Dallas Mellott, if you should read this):

A man, raving to his psychiatrist: "I'm a teepee! I'm a wigwam! I'm a teepee! I'm a wigwam!"
The psychiatrist: "Relax, man. You're two tents."

Menand does not credit its author. He merely mentions its place among his own personal pantheon of treasured quotes.