The Corner

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It Takes a (Greenwich) Village


Derb, I suspect you’re right that “it takes a village” is an ersatz saying. You gotta love those ersatz sayings. Last month, finishing up my book on Hillary, I decided I wanted to quote that old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” So I did a Google search on it to get the correct wording. Turns out (as you probably know) it first appears not in any Chinese text but rather in a 1966 speech by Robert F. Kennedy. Coming in second in the annals of ersatz quotes: “America is great because she is good,” supposedly by Alexis de Tocqueville and quoted in thousands of speeches. Jack Pitney of Claremont College definitively demonstrated its inauthenticity in the Weekly Standard a decade ago, but it’s still widely used.