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fleas in a lion

Posted by Jose Carlos on January 03, 2005

Hi everyone:

A curious expression in Portuguese: "catar pulgas num leão". Literally: to search for fleas in a lion. The usual meaning is to look for shortcomings in great personages in order to obscure their qualities. Like saying that Montaigne was homosexual, Andersen a pederast, and Shakespeare a miser. What is the closest expression in English?