Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I really didn’t say everything I said

Bullfighting is now in the process of being banned in Catalonia, people far more knowledgable about Spain than I am claim this is at least partially driven by a desire to differentiate themselves from mainland Spain than anything else. So instead I'm going to fearlessly march in to a small detail that's tangentially related to it all.

Whenever bullfighting (or that old fun internet war about whether motor racing is a sport or not) there's one quote that gets dragged out more than any other.

"There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games" Ernest Hemingway

And the thing is, it's absolute bollocks. As far as we can tell Hemingway never said it. Not only did he not say it, it isn't something he might have said.

A quote from him that has the benefit of being real is that bullfighting "is not a sport but a tragedy" (from Death in the Afternoon). And goes on at length to talk about it as ritual, art, and all kinds of other things but explicitly not a sport.

The title quote is from Yogi Berra who while being very quotable with his yogi-isms, often found all kinds of other quotes being assigned to him. With good lines we seem to want someone famous to have said them and they get attached. Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde are two serial sufferers (or beneficiaries?) from this affliction.

Or as goes around in various forms on facebook every so often.

"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can't trust their accuracy"- Abraham Lincoln.

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