Liking What Dorothy Parker Said (or Didn’t)

Amazon bought a site called Goodreads earlier this year. It’s a social network thing for readers that supposedly has 20 million members. I’m not one of them, but I noticed today that they have a selection of quotes from famous authors. And since it’s the internet, they allow you to click a button and say you like a particular quote.

Goodreads features more than 200 quotes from Dorothy Parker, the extremely witty woman who said, among other things:

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

“By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering and sighing.
And he vows his passion is,
Infinite, undying.
Lady make note of this —
One of you is lying.”

“If you wear a short enough skirt, the party will come to you.” 

“Women and elephants never forget.”

“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” 

“Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
a medley of extemporanea,
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
and I am Marie of Romania.”

Yet the most popular Dorothy Parker quote on Goodreads, by a very, very large margin, is this lame observation:

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.”

Which isn’t even true: 


Postscript:  According to a comment from Mr. T. Pedersen, the most-liked quote isn’t something Dorothy Parker actually wrote. Which, assuming he’s right, is to her credit.

3 thoughts on “Liking What Dorothy Parker Said (or Didn’t)

  1. Funny, I was just researching a Dorothy Parker quote today, “Three things I shall never attain: envy, content, and sufficient Champagne”, Dorothy Parker, American Poet, 1893 – 1967. It was on the homepage for a wine distributer and I was curious about the American Poet … And so I looked it up and found that two of your quotes are mistakenly attributed to her:

    The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
    Widely attributed to Dorothy Parker and to Ellen Parr, but the origin is unknown.

    “Martini Madness: Dorothy Parker didn’t write the famous quatrain about martinis that’s always attributed to her.”, Troy Patterson, Slate, April 8, 2013

    • I like to think of them as Goodread’s quotes, but thanks for pointing that out. If she didn’t say the “no cure for curiosity” thing, I feel better about her, if that’s possible, since it’s not only not true but not funny.

      On the other hand, she is also supposed to have said “I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.” So maybe she wouldn’t mind being wrongly quoted.

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