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September 22, 2003 3:43 AM   Subscribe

"May You Live in Interesting Times": The 'Chinese Curse' is semi-debunked.
A scholar (over-)documents his search for the true origin of this oft-repeated quote (Google found it 10,800 times). Here's more about/from Professor DeLong. And here's a semi-official response from China. Appropriate, since here's how one writer amended the original. And, just for snarkiness, here's a related quote from a familiar figure.
posted by wendell (11 comments total)
Just for the record, the "interesting times" quote has appeared in MeFi threads only three times, and none of them called it a "Chinese Curse". You might never have associated Bobby Kennedy with that quote, but how many of you know his most famous quote originated from George Bernard Shaw (and he usually attributed it).
This completes my blathering, you may now Get a Life.
posted by wendell at 3:46 AM on September 22, 2003

I'm reminded of the ancient arab curse - May the fleas of a thousand camels invade your armpits/ underwear / crotch. I reckon it came from a 1960s "Carry On" film, myself.
posted by Pericles at 4:13 AM on September 22, 2003

I've always been told it was Bedouin, and went: "May you be cursed to live in interesting times."
posted by amberglow at 5:05 AM on September 22, 2003

Just a snark, but if I see Professor DeLong mentioned I assume it's Brad DeLong, not some guy trying to trace the entymology of an aphorism.
posted by datadawg at 6:19 AM on September 22, 2003

Confucious say, "He who misattribute Chinese saying, really piss me off."
posted by Blue Stone at 6:37 AM on September 22, 2003

I have my own blessing/curse: "May you get exactly what you deserve."
posted by black8 at 7:24 AM on September 22, 2003

we do not live in interesting times
posted by clavdivs at 7:55 AM on September 22, 2003

May the fleas of a thousand camels invade your armpits/ underwear / crotch

I've always attributed it to Klinger.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:29 AM on September 22, 2003

Confucianism back in vogue in China
posted by homunculus at 10:11 AM on September 22, 2003

"How can you buy or sell the sky" -- Chief Seattle
"the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco." -- Mark Twain
"That government is best which governs least" --Thomas Jefferson

Screw this... I'm not ever going to read anything again.
posted by emptyage at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2003

MrMoonPie, I seem to remember Klinger saying that (or any number of variations) during his "mad Arab phases".
Disclaimer: no racial slur is intended or implied by the use of the phrase "mad Arab"
posted by dg at 5:34 PM on September 22, 2003

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