America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)



Quiz: Which Don Said That?
President Trump or The Godfather?

Don and Don

26 June 2017

Choose A for Donald John Trump, B for Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Answers appear below.

1.  A friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults.

A or B?

2.  Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.

A or B?

3.  Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is you’re generally better off sticking with what you know.

A or B?

4.  Great men are not born great, they grow great.

A or B?

5.  I have great respect for the Pope. I really like the Pope. I actually like him.

A or B?

6.  I drink my little wine and eat my little cracker.

A or B

7.  A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.

A or B?

8.  I don’t have the time that I would love to spend with my children and my wife.

A or B?

9.  Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgement.

A or B?

10. The press is the enemy of the American people.

A or B?

11. I am very educated. I have learnt (sic) good words. I have the best words!

A or B?

12. I don’t trust society to protect us. I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them.

A or B?

13. Many young men started down a false path to their true destiny. Time and fortune usually set them right.

A or B?

14. I rely on myself very much. I just think that you have an instinct and you go with it.

A or B?

15. The point is that you can’t be too greedy.

A or B?

16. Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and move on to something that’s more productive.

A or B?

17. Do me this favor. I won’t forget it. Ask your friends in the neighborhood about me. They’ll tell you I know how to return a favor. 

A or B?

18. I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.

A or B

19. Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.

A or B

20. Your enemies get strong on what you leave behind.

A or B

21. There are things that have to be done and you do them and you never talk about them. You don’t try to justify them. They can’t be justified. You just do them. Then you forget it.

A or B


Don Corleone has now been recognized and revitalized by media mentions of “The Godfather Effect”, apparently a post-hundred days inspiration. Though these mentions aren’t detailed, they do indicate a few unnerving coincidences.  Mario Puzo’s Godfather not only chose his cohort for their envious awe of him, but he was expert at employing fear to make them bow to his wishes, forgetting any lingering doubts they may have had about his proposals. Since people who wholeheartedly shared his methods were relatively scarce, he sought those who had a dubious episode or two in their pasts. The more nefarious their history, the more malleable they’d be. Don Corleone’s Mafia famiglia was vastly extended by the bribes he’d paid to judges, police officers and politicians, as well as to others who might be useful.  No wonder his favors were always returned. Or else.

Puzo’s Don Corleone took great pride in keeping promises, but without discriminating between good promises and bad. A good promise was not killing the murderers who killed his son Santino; a bad promise was killing people who defied him, and he kept that promise many times.  He was fond of the proverb “Revenge is a dish that tastes best cold”. Though borrowed, it was one of his better promises. Another one of his favorites was “Behind every successful fortune there is a crime”. That one has a shorter history.


1.    B

2.    B

3.    A

4.    B

5.    A

6.    A

7.    B

8.    A

9.    B

10.  A

11.  A

12.  B

13.  B

14.  A

15.  A

16.  A

17.  B

18.  B

19.  A

20.  B

21.  B

Elaine KendallA journalist and playwright, Elaine’s books of American cultural history were published by Little, Brown, Putnam and Capra; her plays by Samuel French, Smith & Kraus and Art Age. Musical plays are An American Cantata; The Would-be Diva; Isadora! and COLE and WILL: Together Again! Non-musical dramas are The Chameleon; Two Margarets; The Trial of Mata Hari and The Nominee. The “I” Word; Gun Show Follies and Secrets of the Showroom are short comedies. She has written for many national magazines; The New York Times and the LA Times. Current articles appear monthly in the aptly-named online journal The Satirist.