Who said, "Humor is the politeness of despair?"
June 3, 2007 11:19 PM   Subscribe

Who said, "Humor is the politeness of despair?"

Googling it attributes it, variously, to Ionesco, Marcel Duhamel, Kierkegaard, Boris Vian and Chris Marker. Google is also curious if I mean "Humor is the politics of despair." Do I?
posted by StopMakingSense to Writing & Language (3 answers total)
To confuse matters further, googling what I'm assuming to be the French equivalent L’humour est la politesse du désespoir, leads to the French Wikipédia entry on Humour which states «L’humour est la politesse du désespoir» (citation attribuée selon les auteurs à Achille Chavée, Oscar Wilde, Georges Duhamel, Boris Vian, et parfois même, bien qu'elle ne soit pas du tout de son style, Pierre Dac).
posted by misteraitch at 4:05 AM on June 4, 2007

This is probably one of the zillions of sayings out there that seem like they must have been said/written by somebody famous, but nobody knows who, so they get attributed to all the usual suspects. See my comment here for more (and a book recommendation).
posted by languagehat at 7:27 AM on June 4, 2007

Mike Valentine from Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein also comes to this conclusion. There's a nice passage, when I find the book, I'll quote it.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 11:02 AM on August 7, 2007

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