Quoting Myself
A character spouts an aphorism that sounds like a quote, but it turns out he's quoting himself.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-11-18 08:23:05 sponsor: CaoCao (last reply: 2012-11-21 23:51:03)

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Spouting an aphorism is a great way to lend gravitas to your argument, or simply to sound smart. But sometimes nothing anyone famous said will do, so you just make something up on the spot, or rehash something you previously said.

Often your interlocutor will tentatively attribute the quote to one author or another, and you can admit, deadpan-style, that the aphorism is really yours.


Examples:

Film
  • Jack Burton, the main character in Big Trouble in Little China, would constantly begin his words fo wisdom with "Remember what old Jack Burton says at a time like this...". This is trope is invoked in the climax when he faces down the Big Bad and does this, only to have the villains ask, "Who?". Jack then growls, "Jack Burton... me!".
  • Dead Poets Society:
    McAllister: Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I'll show you a happy man.
    Keating: But only in their dreams can men be truly free. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be.
    McAllister: Tennyson?
    Keating: No, Keating.
  • Patton.
    Patton: You know what the poet said. "Through the travail of ages, midst the pomp and toils of war, have I fought and strove and perished countless times upon the star. As if through a glass and darkly, the age-old strife I see, where I fought in many guises, many names, but always me."
    You know who the poet was? Me.
  • The Wiz:
    Scarecrow: Success, fame, and fortune, they're all illusions. All there is that is real is the friendship that two can share.
    Dorothy: That's beautiful! Who said that?
    Scarecrow: [modestly] I did.
  • The Three Musketeers (1993) Aramis recites poetry to a tavern wench. D'Artagnan asks if it's Shakespeare and Aramis replies that it's Aramis.
  • The last Harry Potter movie has a scene where Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt are standing near each other at the start of the Battle for Hogwarts.
    Lupin: It is the quality of one's convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.
    Kingsley: Who said that?
    Lupin: Me.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • CSI Crime Scene Investigation:
    Grissom: The best intentions are fraught with disappointment.
    Willows: Emerson?
    Grissom: Grissom.
  • In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, a coincidence involving this led to Mary mistakenly believing that Dick was really a wanted activist she knew during her hippie days in The Sixties:
    Dick: History is made by the individual, not by the masses.
    Mary: Who said that?
    Dick: I did.
    Mary: No, where's that from?
    Dick: My mouth.
    Mary: No, somebody said that!
    Dick: Hellllloooo! That was me.
    Mary: This is so weird.
    [flashback to young Mary at Berkeley]
    Mary: This is so weird.
    Manny: I mean, you've been rinsed and hung out to dry. Think about it. Dig it, babe, that's what's happened. History is made by the individual, not by the masses.
    Mary: Who said that?
    Manny: I did.
    Mary: Wow!
    [return to present]
    Mary: Wow!
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    Ramona: Didn't a great man once say, 'Science demands nothing less than the fervent and unconditional dedication of our entire lives'?
    Sheldon: He did.
    Ramona: And who was that great man?
    Sheldon: Me. Sorry, Leonard.
    Leonard: Seriously? You're not coming?
    Sheldon: You heard her. How can I argue with me?

Theatre
  • 1776:
    Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers.
    John Adams: I have more to do than stand here listening to you quote yourself.
    Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, that was a new one.

Web Comic
  • After Agatha in Girl Genius surprises Zeetha by not only managing to fix a "magic" artifact but improving it as well, she declares "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!" Zeetha asks why it's in quotes and who said it, to which Agatha responds, "ME!"

Western Animation

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