Don't trust the messenger
April 28, 2008 9:10 AM Subscribe
EpigramFilter: What's the converse of "Don't kill the messenger"?
posted by Araucaria to Writing & Language (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You frequently hear the expression Don't blame the bearer of bad news.
But you don't often hear the converse, and I believe it is equally valid:A scoundrel or a fool can make the best of news seem bad.
"Don't judge a book by its cover" is the usual way of saying this, but it doesn't really convey the emotional weight of situations like
- A brilliant symphony is premiered by an unsympathetic or incompetent orchestra and its genius remains unrecognized for years.
- A child abandons her faith because her only reference point for the religion is her hypocritical family
- An admirable proposition can be distorted into ridiculous Straw Man argument.
- A new or nuanced idea is almost certainly going to be greeted with ridicule when it is first presented, especially if it threatens the status quo.
Surely this is an ancient insight. Am I just missing the obvious adage?