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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2002 7:19 am 
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Immediately below is a quote on your website - and recently transmitted to the 'Quotes of the Day' mailing list - that I think may be misattributed. I hope you take the information I've included into consideration and correct the attribution if you feel it is warranted.

The two most abundant things in the universe are Hydrogren and stupidity.
Harlan Ellison


First of all, "Hydrogen" is misspelled.

Secondly, and most important, I believe the quote should be attributed to musician Frank Zappa. As a fan of his for decades, I have been aware of the quote being attributed to him for many years. I have asked other fans about the actual origination and here are a few comments by them:

1)
"The first time I read it was in the February 1980 issue of _Trouser
Press_. What FZ actually said in that interview was, "Stupidity is
like hydrogen, it's everywhere, it's the basic building block of the
universe." I did a Google search looking for a cite of the Ellison version
of the quote, and only found it attributed to a 1987 issue of Omni.
So it looks to me like Ellison cribbed it from Zappa."

2)
"And also in this interview in a French-Canadian newspaper:

Frank Zappa "Prenez moi comme je suis ou pas du tout"
par Nathalie Petrowski
Le Devoir, (Montréal) samedi 14 novembre 1981
Entrevu fait dimanche 08 novembre 81"

[translated to]

"Frank Zappa "Take me as I am or not at all"
by Nathalie Petrowski
Le Devoir, (Montreal) Saturday, November 14, 1981
Interview November 08, 1981"

3)
"Stupidity quote is in the Real FZ book [The Real Frank Zappa Book] and also in the Peefeeyatko film...."

4)
"Ellison isn't exactly noted for his humble honesty."


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2002 6:56 pm 
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This is a tough one. (Except for the misspelling. I fixed that.)

Harlan Ellison's own page (approved but not maintained by him, he hates computers) cites this quotation but doesn't give a definitive source.
http://harlanellison.com/quotes.htm

I've seen similar quotations from Zappa (including the one you posted) but whether this originated with him is another story.

I would welcome a definitive reference one way or the other, but I'm leaning toward Ellison.

BTW, no, Ellison isn't noted for his humility, but read any interview with him and you'll quickly understand that he is a devout believer in everyone else's stupidity.

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Michael Moncur
Owner and maintainer, The Quotations Page


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2002 8:55 am 
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mgm wrote:
This is a tough one. (Except for the misspelling. I fixed that.)

Harlan Ellison's own page (approved but not maintained by him, he hates computers) cites this quotation but doesn't give a definitive source.
http://harlanellison.com/quotes.htm

I've seen similar quotations from Zappa (including the one you posted) but whether this originated with him is another story.

I would welcome a definitive reference one way or the other, but I'm leaning toward Ellison.

BTW, no, Ellison isn't noted for his humility, but read any interview with him and you'll quickly understand that he is a devout believer in everyone else's stupidity.


Thanks a bunch for the reply. If I ever find a definitive source reference I'll be sure to inform you of it. As you say, it may be tough to find though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2002 5:34 pm 
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I'll be on the lookout too...

I'm going to add a 'note' field to the quotations database so i can make little notations about this sort of thing.

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Michael Moncur
Owner and maintainer, The Quotations Page


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2002 9:26 pm 
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mgm wrote:

I'm going to add a 'note' field to the quotations database so i can make little notations about this sort of thing.


That's cool. I'm glad my comments spurred a hopeful addition/improvement to your great resource.


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