Is Imitation Really The Sincerest Form Of Flattery?

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Joe Riley, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Flattery is defined as insincere praise.

    Until the 19th century, it was commonly thought that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. Since this time, other methods of flattery have come into practice that are arguably more sincere.

    The problem with finding the sincerest form of flattery is that flattery by definition is insincere.


    So something has to have just the right amount of sincerity to be sincere, but not be sincere enough to not be insincere, and therefore not be considered flattery.
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    So..............I'm confused! :)

    Also, flattery will get you everywhere with me but if you're not sincere than that changes everything.
     
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  3. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery



    Origin

    "This proverbial expression dates from the early 19th century, although versions of it that paraphrased the same thought existed well before then.

    The first of these alternate versions is found in a biography of Marcus Aurelius by Jeremy Collier and André Dacier, titled Emperor Marcus Antoninus his conversation with himself, 1708:
    You should consider that Imitation is the most acceptable part of Worship, and that the Gods had much rather Mankind should Resemble, than Flatter them.

    A nearer stab at the current version comes in a piece by the English writer Eustace Budgell in the newspaper The Spectator No. 605, October 1714:
    Imitation is a kind of artless Flattery.

    The full monty as far as this proverb is concerned was given by Charles Caleb Colton, inLacon: or, Many things in few words, 1820:
    Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.

    Colton was expressing the same idea as Budgell, in that, to imitate is to flatter without necessarily being aware one is flattering. As such, that 'artless' appreciation has to be 'sincere'".
     
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  4. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    I like what George Bernard Shaw said

    "Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery.
    It's the sincerest form of learning."

    But, may I add, once learned, it's time for one's own ideas.
     
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  5. Mari North

    Mari North Very Well-Known Member
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    I never bought into that, frankly... because when I've seen imitation (actual definition of "flattery" aside here) it often wasn't being done to flatter or emulate someone... but rather to mock. :(
     
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  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  7. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    im·i·ta·tion

    noun
    1. a thing intended to simulate or copy something else.
    "an imitation diamond"
    synonyms: copy, simulation, reproduction, replica; More

    • the action of using someone or something as a model.
    "a child learns to speak by imitation"
    synonyms: emulation, copying, echoing, parroting
    "learning by imitation"
    • an act of imitating a person's speech or mannerisms, especially for comic effect.
    "he attempted an atrocious imitation of my English accent"
    synonyms: impersonation, impression, parody, mockery,caricature, burlesque, travesty, lampoon,pastiche
     
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  8. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    For a moment, before I put my glasses on I thought the word being processed here was intimidation. But alas, upon a later glance, after donning my spectacles, indeed comes a single reasoning behind intimidation which is the topic word, imitation. And how, you may ask, can imitation produce intimidation? Simply, there are times when I would like to dot someone's eye for trying to produce something LIKE something else and then comparing their product to the original. I become intimidating and I assure one and all that the persons responsible for aping the original should feel intimidated if indeed they were aware of the public's and my feelings on the matter.

    For instance have you, as a senior and a possible denture wearer, seen products which advertise, "compare to or the same as "Fixodent" or Polygrip"? In order to save a buck and a half I wound up practically spitting my lowers out within an hour after going out in public.
    There's imitation vanilla extract, tools, cars, lemon scent, plants, shrubs, trees, art, artists, religions not to exclude some religious people, canned foods, and yes even one of most devastating trends of all, imitation Bacon.
    All of it, while looking nearly like the original are only copies and very nearly always less than the original in quality but sometimes cost more than the real thing.

    Then there is the infamous mime who imitates someone walking in the wind or caged in a glass box which while cute when Marcel Marceax or Red Skelton did it 30 or 40 years ago is presently worthy of a cane strike on the noggin. Or, perhaps the mimes are worth more than I see because maybe they emulate those who's lives are only copies of the successful and lovers of life.

    Now, the most tragic imitators are our offspring. Specifically those who imitate college students who cannot tell us who the Vice President of the United States is, who won the Civil War, or the first three words of the Constitution of the United States but can readily name off every hot bod on the silver screen and every game available on the net. Yet, it would seem that the colleges are equally guilty of imitation for they charge just as much to teach real stupidity imitating knowledge as a real college does to teach someone who wants real knowledge in the attempt to rally against ignorance.

    Imitation the highest form of flattery? Yes, it might be so philosophically, but once we realize the cheapened knock off is found wanting it is most assuredly shunned by those who know that there is nothing like the original. Even a look in the mirror is a bad imitation for the image we see is the opposite of our real physical self. Left is right, and the right is left.
     
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  9. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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  10. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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  11. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  12. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Yes, genuine, imitation leather, is not your first choice! Maybe imitation is a queer type of reverse engineering? some of the synonyms for imitation are:

    Reproduction, replica,impersonation, impression, parody, mockery,caricature, travesty, lampoon,artificial, man made, mock, simulated, synthetic, echo, reflection, reflex, repetition.
    ...and then there is pirating, plagiarism, counterfeit, industrial espionage, rip-offs, etc.

    The L1020 and imitation being the sincerest form of flattery...
    l1020-0.jpg
    Even small products are being ripped off: ...like the "Shoupie"!:eek:
    SharpieVsShoupie.JPG
     
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  13. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    I totally understand what you mean when you say that @Mari North , but let me ask you in another way...apart from perhaps being a little annoying , would you consider it mocking if someone admired the way your dress and styled themselves on your good taste, or would you accept that as sincere flattery? I think I'd be irritated but flattered....but I certainly know what you mean by the mockery thing..I have it still when people copy my accent, they think they're being amusing and clever..they are not they are as you say.. actually being sneeringly mocking!!
     
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  14. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    I can't count how many times I've burned ears while looking in the mirror curling my hair:(. It is confusing...should I approach it from the front... right or left? Eventually I'll get it right... for that day.:D
     
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  15. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    When I read this, the first thing that came to mind is reverse engineering, as mentioned above, and copying the designs of another. It really irks me when I struggle to come up with new designs and they are then copied by others and sold at lower prices. Of course we all know this has happened on a much grander scale with China and other countries ripping off products, prototypes and designs. It takes a lot of money out of the pockets of those who have worked hard to create, and is a billion, if not trillion dollar business. I even have a 'friend' who thinks it's o.k. to do that as long as she buys a product from someone and then reverse engineers the steps to making it. That may be the case for personal use, but in my opinion, it's wrong to do so and then sell the finished products. I am o.k. with learning from someone's work and building off of it, but not stealing designs/ideas.

    On a smaller scale, I love seeing children imitate their parents' positive behaviors, and the same with mentors/protegees. It's nice to see people learning from others and reflecting that knowledge back, and out into the world.
     
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  16. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    A baby bird learns it's song from ti's parent, by having it played through a template, of sorts, in it's ear, and then singing it back, eventually perfecting the song, and making it it's own. Learning,by imitating.;)
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Coogle it!

    coogel.JPG

    12-not-better.jpg

    Burberry vs Millers Cape.jpg
     
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  18. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    22 Minutes at 22 Years: Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery. 22 Minutes cast members past and present muse on the success and awkwardness stemming from the sincerest form of flattery.
     
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  19. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Going with Joe's original post, I would say; yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If I were to do something well enough for someone to imitate (Copy) it, I would be immensely flattered.
     
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  20. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    It depends on how you look at the imitation. Some writers are wary when it comes to imitation and their first impulse is a cry of plagiarism. My husband had been attending meetings of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) and it was always emphasized that plagiarism is a crime. Moreover, imitating the writings is also a form of plagiarism.

    But anyway, I am not really flattered when someone imitates what I am doing or what I have done albeit I am irritated.
     
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  21. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    No Flattery Is Found in an Imitation of a Rockwell.

    Everyone thought the conservator did it. But as it turns out, it was the husband, in the throes of a bitter divorce.

    [​IMG]
    Original "Breaking Home Ties," left, and the copy at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

    [​IMG]
    Don Trachte Jr., left, and his brother Dave opening a fake wall to show where they found a work by Norman Rockwell in their father's studio.
     
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