General Question

ibstubro's avatar

What is your favorite Mark Twain quote?

Asked by ibstubro (18636points) March 9th, 2014

Give us your quote, then your take on it.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

41 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

I love cats.

El_Cadejo's avatar

“To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times.”
It’s often attributed to Mark Twain but there is some debate there as to it’s actual origins.

Coloma's avatar

Progress was once a fine thing but it has gone on far too long. Heh..and this was what? About 1890 or something? ;p;

kritiper's avatar

Something to the effect of “What a place heaven will be when all of the hypocrites assemble there!”

Coloma's avatar

@uberbatman Haha..I love that one, rings true for me.

Coloma's avatar

Leave it to me to put all of my eggs in one bastard. Oh wait, that was Dorothy Parker. lol

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

filmfann's avatar

The attribution is in question, but my favorite quote is:

“The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco.”

In his autobiography, he referred to someone as being a “shining ass”. I love that.

johnpowell's avatar

Holy fucking shit. I went digging and found this..


turtlesandbox's avatar

Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.

LostInParadise's avatar

Faith is believing what you know ain’t true.

simone54's avatar

Damn @LostInParadise. You beat me to it. I got all the way down to end and was disappointed that you got to do it.

gondwanalon's avatar

I think that Mark Twain said this:
“Everything commeth to he who waiteth,
so long as he who waiteth
worketh like hell while he waiteth!”

zander101's avatar

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.

Very meaningful and full of depth, reflects current media and mainstream perception.

ragingloli's avatar

“So, this is a spaceship. You ever run into Halley’s Comet?”

ucme's avatar

There is nothing like a dame, nothing in th…did he ever do karaoke?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
We have a framed needlepoint at the front door of this quote.

Cruiser's avatar

“The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.” – Mark Twain

gailcalled's avatar

Until this morning, I would have said;

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes

It turns out that the aurhor was not Twain but Henry David Thoreau. It doesn’t matter. It should have been Twain.

I went on a house tour recently and this quote was stencilled, in huge letters, (an expensive decorating projefct) over an archway leading to a libray. It was attributed to Twain.

KNOWITALL's avatar

But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?

Mark Twain

gailcalled's avatar

edit: stencilled

Pachy's avatar

I heard this Twain quote just a few nights ago in an episode of a TV series I loved and still mourn the cancellation of, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting its shoes on.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Man is the only animal that blushes-or needs to.

bea2345's avatar

“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?” – Huckleberry Finn.

bea2345's avatar

@kritiper: “What a hell of a heaven it will be when they get all these hypocrites assembled there!” Yes, indeed.

cheebdragon's avatar

“The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop”

“Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”

ccrow's avatar

“There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

Coloma's avatar

I can see M.T. quote wallpaper. Best in the bathroom methinks. lol

Aster's avatar

“The Book of Mormon is chloroform in print.”

rojo's avatar

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young.

NanoNano's avatar

I wouldn’t call this my favorite, but I came across something he said about another writer and found it funny:

“Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shinbone.” (Jane Austen)

That kind of kills the assumption that all great writers respect other great writers’ work.

ibstubro's avatar

Mark Twain was a humorist (comedian) as well as author, @NanoNano, and I think it’s safe to say that many of his comments reflected his times, rather than wisdom. My guess is that Jane Austin was out of favor during Twain’s time and he was pandering to his audience rather than seriously drubbing a fellow writer.

NanoNano's avatar

True. Its hard to say what his feelings were at this point. I have actually never read Pride and Prejudice, so I can’t weign in on the quality of the book.

bea2345's avatar

@NanoNano , @ibstubro : you might enjoy this article by Emily Auerbach. Like Jane Austen, Twain used humour, in the form of irony and satire, to carry his story along and to give interest so that readers could understand and perhaps even share his point of view. Unlike Twain, Miss Austen never used slapstick except for the occasional use of farce, as in Northanger Abbey and (my favourite, absolutely) Pride and Prejudice. Their views on the human condition were very similar. If Mark Twain actively disliked Jane Austen, he had a strange way of demonstrating it. He actually read her novels.

LostInParadise's avatar

Isn’t there a bit of irony in saying “every time I read Pride and Prejudice”? Just how many times did he read it and what caused him to keep coming back to the book?

ibstubro's avatar

Since this thread got bigger than I could manage on a one-on-one basis, I hesitate to comment further, BUT:

I appreciate the equivocation, @NanoNano. I doubt that Twain was serious about Austin in the quote, but don’t exclude it out-of-hand. He could have had a grudge – that was sort of his wont.

Informed, insightful and intelligent comment, @bea2345. I was an English major in college, but that was 32 years ago.

Great point! @LostInParadise

LostInParadise's avatar

That questionable smoking quote that @uberbatman mentioned can be used to paraphrase the Austen quote. “I really disliked Pride and Prejudice each of the hundred times I read it.”

NanoNano's avatar

I imagine the context of Twain’s quote is long since lost. But I believe his humor was basically satire, ie. having a thread of genuine feeling behind it… So who knows…

KNOWITALL's avatar

@NanoNano He was big into satire and irony for sure, but some were sincere emotions and feelings as well. He’s one of my favorite writers and his thought processes are intriguing.

Strauss's avatar

He was probably the best standup comic of the day.

In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.

I think of this almost every time there is a religious or political discussion thread.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Yetanotheruser I think as a Missouri boy, he meant is seriously because it’s true. When you’re indoctrinated from birth you often don’t question until you mature, sometimes not even then unless you’re the curious or questioning type. All I can say is it doesn’t make us bad people, a lot of us have just never questioned it.

FLDS and other religious sects are the same.

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