A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 14, 2015
“Only dead fish go with the flow”

Entry in progress—B.P.

The Contrary Opinion—Buttons
Only Dead Fish Go With The Flow
Malcolm MuggeridgeThis thought is rooted in religion; when The Right Reverend Robert Daly in 1826 said, “live fish swim against the stream, while dead ones float with it,” the sentiment was already a classic. In the 20th century, Malcolm Muggeridge was notable for commenting, “Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.” Going with the flow is a far more recent coinage. In any case, it reminds us that to be a successful investor, you can’t just float along; you’ve got to do the work. And to be a contrarian investor, you’ve got to do the uncomfortable thinking that leads you to swim against the flow of popular opinion.

23 May 1990, Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe, “‘Roger and Me’ leads to regrets over accepting the free beer” by Mark Esper, pg. 6, col. 3:
They say only dead fish go with the flow, and Michael Moore is no dead fish.

Google Books
The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs
By Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder and Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Pg. 79:
Only dead fish go with the flow.
1989 Bobby Louise Hawkins, My Own Alphabet (Minneapolis, Coffee Hourse Press) 135 (in a list of sayings by unknown authors): “Only dead fish go with the flow.”
2000 Michaelann Martin, WOmen of Grace (Steubenville OH: Emmaus Road) 81: “I live to remember that in the river of life, only dead fish go with the flow.”
Cf. the older proverb “A dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.” The modern variant (among other implications) satirizes—and sometimes retorts to—the proverbial advice “Go with the FLOW.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Monday, December 14, 2015 • Permalink