I have always attributed the phrase in the headline to Mark Twain, among my favorite authors … but I see by Wikipedia that it is of mixed or uncertain parentage. No matter. Please consider the link as a footnote to this post … my sixth footnote of the day. Earlier, I added what had been the five end notes to Chapter 1 of Beauty from Afar to the online pages where they belong, turning them into footnotes.
I see that I felt rightfully obligated to be fastidious about attributing statistics and numbers to their original source; and careful and fair readers should note that I chose sources that are known for doing good research and that I couch prose that surrounds any statistics rather carefully. There is almost nothing worse in journalism or argument than using bad statistics, or using good statistics badly, and it is done all the time.
To the extent that I am not guilty, I credit a professor of mine, Edward Tufte, whom I knew originally in the 1970s when he taught undergraduates at Yale. He has gone on to much bigger things.
Here, again, is the link to the last bit of Chapter 1:
We’ll begin Chapter 2 … oh, well. Before Monday, certainly.