Tuesday, January 18, 2005



Something about the phrase "speak truth to power" irritates me. I'm inclined to stop reading or listening whenever I encounter it. It is one of those rare clichés whose origin is known -- the Quaker Milton Mayer first used it as the title of a pamphlet in the summer of 1954. He claimed that the phrase was an 18th century one, but no one has identified an 18th century source, and the phrase is probably the product of Mayer's own brain. It may have been fresh and vigorous once, but it is flat and insipid now.

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