Posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 23, 2006
In Reply to: You can't con a con. posted by Smokey Stover on June 23, 2006
: : : : What is the origin and meaning of the oxymoronic phrase "can't fool the fool" if any?
: : : it is a variation on the idea of the "poacher turned game-keeper" idea or "set a thief to catch a thief" - i.e. that somebody who is dishonest can spot and catch out another one. it is the opposite of 'honour amongst thieves', I suppose.
: : : L
: : "You can't con the con" is the one I've heard. Pamela
: One of my weaknesses is watching CSI reruns. The last one I saw had Catherine saying, to a mendacious female witness, "You can't con a con." (Catherine may be in her mid-40s, but she's a real hottie--an inspiration to the mid-life wife.)
The original question was about "you can't fool a fool", which is rather different. The meaning of this is that it's possible to deceive a clever person with false clues and implications, but somebody who is too stupid to pick up those clues will remain undeceived. CF. a famous quote form Rydyard Kipling, "The silliest woman can manage a clever man; but it needs a clever woman to manage a fool" (VSD)