Mark Twain (1835-1910) is credited with: “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” The oft-repeated line appears in Mark Twain: a biography:
The personal and literary life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1912) by Albert Bigelow Paine, although there is some question if the statement is Twain’s or Paine’s.
Twain also criticized Congress when he wrote: “Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.”
Wikipedia: Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called “the Great American Novel”, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).
Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion’s newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River, before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which proved to be very popular and brought him nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well-received. Twain had found his calling.
He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
However, he lacked financial acumen. Though he made a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he squandered it on various ventures, in particular the Paige Compositor, and was forced to declare bankruptcy. With the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers, however, he eventually overcame his financial troubles. Twain worked hard to ensure that all of his creditors were paid in full, even though his bankruptcy had relieved him of the legal responsibility.
Born during a visit by Halley’s Comet, he died on its return. He was lauded as the “greatest American humorist of his age”, and William Faulkner called Twain “the father of American literature”.
Wikiquote: Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer.
Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
. Draft manuscript (c.1881), quoted by Albert Bigelow Paine in Mark Twain: A Biography (1912), p. 724.
Mark Twain: a biography:
The personal and literary life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
By Albert Bigelow Paine
New York, NY: Harper & Bros.
At another time, on the matter of postage rates he wrote a paper which began: “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, January 17, 2011 • Permalink