“Quote Investigator” — A Reason to like the Internet

Recently, Phil Isenberg, chair of the Delta Stewardship Council,  made California’s Capitol aware of Quote Investigator and it’s eponymous efforts.

Isenberg, a former lawmaker and lobbyist, forwards the outcome of Quote Investigator’s investigation of a statement routinely attributed to Mark Twain. Isenberg begins his email by saying:

“Another Urban Legend put to rest.”

The debunked Urban Legend is that Twain coined the phrase,  “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” 

He didn’t. So concludes Quote Investigator. 

“Multiple researchers have examined this saying and there is no substantive evidence that Mark Twain said or wrote it,” the site says.

Isenberg quickly stipulates that the statement remains just as true, regardless of authorship.

Perhaps he bases this conclusion on the mountain of empirical data cataloging the strong emotions engendered by whether a tunnel or tunnels should route some of the Sacramento and San Joaquin River’s water around the delta, the necessary levels of habitat conservation for the region and the proper strategies to combat saltwater intrusion, subsidence, antiquated levees and dwindling smelt populations. 

Elsewhere, Quote Investigator examines alleged utterances from  A.A. Milne to Zig Zigler, stopping at most points in between including Churchill, Einstein, Lincoln, Thoreau, Gandhi, Groucho and Thucydides.



Filed under: News, Overheard


  1. Bravo — great post

    Comment by wendy gordon — 6.04.2013 @ 10:09 pm

  2. Sorry to hear this isn’t a Twain quote – it does sound like him. However, I’m glad to know about Quote Investigator – Some of the things attributed to George Carlin, Einstein, and Andy Rooney, to name just a few, are patently ridiculous. I’m giddy at the idea of being able to point this out to some well-meaning but misguided acquaintances.

    Comment by JoAnn Anglin — 6.04.2013 @ 11:22 pm

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