I’m a Happily Married Woman!
And other fables
Joseph George Caldwell
16 February 2022
Copyright © 2022 Joseph George Caldwell. All rights reserved.
Tessa Schlesinger recently posted a note (“The Me-Me-Movement…” 12 February 2022) in which she criticized someone for claiming to be a “top 1000” writer:
“Then I saw another writer write about yet another writer who labeled herself a ‘top 1000’ writer.’ She, apparently, had all her facts wrong. When I asked him what a top 1000 writer was, he said that she had won a $500 prize — once. Um. well, I won all four, and it never occurred to me that I was a top 1000 writer, but even if I was, I would never say so. …the degree of vanity and delusion in labeling oneself a top 1000 writer boggles my mind. I wouldn’t dare.”
The essential points of this example are two: in speaking of yourself, it is considered unseemly to “toot your own horn,” and that if you have to say it, it probably isn’t true.
Ms. Schlesinger’s note prompted me to reflect on other examples of similar assertions:
Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali: “I am the greatest!”
Former US President Richard Nixon, on the Watergate Affair: “I am not a crook!”
Former US President Bill Clinton, on Monica Lewinski: “I did not have sex with that woman!”
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney, on the rationale for the US invasion of Iraq: “Simply stated, there’s no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”
A woman confronted and charged with having an affair with another woman’s husband: “I’m a happily married woman!”
Lots of people, about lots of things: “It’s not about the money.”
On the US Civil War: “It’s not about slavery.”
The Black Lives Matter movement: “Black lives matter.”
If you have to say it, it probably isn’t true.