Monday, February 12, 2018

Papal pansophy and Obi Wan-liners

Unfortunately the vast majority of quotes circulated not only on FB but literally everywhere are falsely attributed (mostly unknowingly), and the more famous or polarized a person is, the more quotes are invented or re-attributed to them by people more eager to push their agenda than to be honest. For instance 99% of published Hitler quotes were faked by those who wished to paint the words of their opposition in the worst light. And Yogi Berra rarely had anything intelligent to say. Most of the quotes he's attributed were redirected to him as a joke; a way to poke fun at him for all his authentic malapropisms and other ding-battery.

The human penchant for misquoting came about well before the internet by the way. Those captured in respected books and on posters are just as likely suspect. The only quotes you ever see that are more likely to be true than false are those that are published along with the full context (place/date/occasion/publication as applicable) which unfortunately is the only fully responsible way to share a quote.

This is a dilemma, I know. Naturally we want to share good ideas and we want to have integrity and thus to attribute them fairly. But we live in a world of rampant misinformation and it's important to me that people realize it, in the hopes we will demand better some day and achieve a sane society.

The comfort is that every quote is real in that it came from somebody! The answer, I suppose, is to check Snopes or such and add in the context if verified, and if not, change it to "attribution unknown." Unfortunately it takes a lot of work to be real in a world that mostly isn't. On my good days, when I succeed, the reward is worth it.

No comments: