You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
You can't make something good out of something inherently bad.
This proverb is first found in English in Alexander Barclay's Eclogues.
Barclay (1475? - 1552) was a Scottish clergyman and poet who is believed to have been the first to write pastoral eclogues in English. (an eclogue being a poem in a classical style on a pastoral subject, usually in the form of a dialogue between two shepherds!)
In 1921, Massachusetts industrialist Arthur D. (who discovered acetate) decided to try his hand at making a silk purse from a sow's ear. He obtained a glue made from the skin and gristle of sow's ears, and had it filtered and forced through a spinneret into a mixture of formaldehyde and acetone. The glue emerged as 16 fine, colorless streams that hardened and then combined to form a single composite fiber. Little soaked the fiber in dyed glycerin. Then he wove the resulting thread into cloth on a handloom-and fashioned the cloth into the elegant purse which you should be able to admire by clicking
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...