Correct Burroughs paranoid quote?

Dr. Menlo’s looking for the exact “A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on” William S. Burroughs quote. There are a few permutations of it on the web, and I’ve yet to find a single actual citation. Did he say it in an interview? Was it in one of his books?

Update: At last, a textual citation. Wikiquote lists the quote as “A paranoid man is a man who knows a little about what’s going on” and cites Friend magazine in 1970. (Thanks to Joseph Matheny for the Wikiquote link!)

Update 2: The Cynics Lexicon (Google Books link) sources the sources the quote to Friends magazine as opposed to Friend. I’m guess it was this magazine.

Update 3: I asked some archivists who have a complete collection of Friends magazines if the quote showed up in the Burroughs interview in issue # 9, they said nothing along those lines is in that interview. Back to the drawing board.


  1. think he said it in an interview if i remember correctly, it might be in the semiotext(e) interview collection with him, edited by sylv?re lotringer…

  2. Finally have the right quote, see the update in the post.

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