In Need of a Subtil Editor

26 March 2008

I don't know whether Robert Francis Kennedy was engaged in plagiarism or allusion when he said

Some men look at things the way they are and ask Why? I dream of things that are not and ask Why not?
It was the former if he expected the audience to take the words as his own, and the latter if he expected the audience to recognize this as an echo of George Bernard Shaw:
You see things; and you say, Why? But I dream things that never were; and I say, Why not?
In any case, when Lionel Beehner said
It seems today's thinkers, to paraphrase Robert Kennedy, like to imagine a world that wasn't and ask, why not?
he was engaged in ignorance.

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