Who Really Said That?

In The Chronicle Review, Corey Robin wrote:

Any idiot can survive a crisis,’ my wife said, ‘it’s the day-to-day living that wears you out.’  I looked at her, puzzled. ‘Chekhov,’ she said. Puzzled gave way to impressed. Impressed gave way to skeptical.

We Googled it. And sure enough, there it was: lots and lots of hits, many of them attributing this bit of wisdom to Chekhov. But where had he said it? Not a single hit identified a play, short story, letter, diary entry, note, or testimonial in which Chekhov or any of his characters says this.

I was in the realm of the WAS, the Wrongly Attributed Statement.

In the land of WAS

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Quote of the day

It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” — Dave Barry

That’s not a WAS. He really said it; you can look it up.

And he’s right, of course.

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Great American Cities for Writers…

… that Aren’t New York

Flavorwire has compiled a list of 20 cities that — while not home to many big publishing houses or national media outlets — might be a better fit for some writers than New York.

“Each features more than one of the factors that help kick-start a writer’s creative process: other writers; inspiring scenery; quiet places to work; good bookstores; local universities and libraries; and, of course, places to drink.”

Cities for writers

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33 of the most deliberately terrible first sentences in literary history

Every year, the announcement of Bulwer-Lytton Prize is a gift from bad writing heaven. Here are some of the best entries from the past decade of the contest, each of them just as wonderfully atrocious as the next. For example:

Corinne considered the colors (palest green, gray and lavender) and texture (downy as the finest velvet) and wondered, ‘How long have these cold cuts been in my refrigerator?‘ — Linda Boatright

Worst first sentences

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The ‘pathetic’ American media

My husband, an ex newsman, often rants about the dismal state of what he calls ‘the corporate media.’

He’s not alone. The Pulitzer Prize winning newsman Seymour Hersh says in an article in The Guardian that to fix journalism, the press should fire 90% of editors.

Hersh is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Don’t even get him started on the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.

Seymour Hersh on journalism

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Alma Alexander

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