Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dan Rather, call your office

How hard can it be to check a quote?

It's rather shocking to see how often quotes are simply not attributed at all.

I don't mean simply by name--a name is often or even usually used. But it's only the name, leaving you to guess where and when it was said. "George Washington" and "Alexis de Toqueville" may as well be "insert attribution here"--although in Toqueville's case it's a little easier to guess where they're thinking it must be.

It's rather more shocking to see how often they are simply erroneous.

Here's a great one, "A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury . . ." blah, blah, blah.

Wonderful idea. Remarkable precision with which it is repeated. And yet no one other than hack circulators of semi-clever office joke material has ever said it. Too bad. It's a great concept. Probably true. Or as my good friend Dan would say, absolutely true.

So this guy has a plausible column, plausible point, nice title and tie in, and he throws it all away.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plausible? Maybe to the pre-convinced.

The article does not have the same panache if he attributes it to mash up of a Daily Oklahoman op-ed and a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers by a leader in the cork industry.

Tytler apparently did say that democratic notions were "nothing better than an Utopian theory, a splendid chimera, descriptive of a state of society that never did, and never could exist; a republic not of men, but of angels,"

Putin may like that

8:53 AM, December 21, 2013  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Yeah, anyone who doesn't agree with you is a fascist.

9:27 AM, December 21, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. The people I disagree with tend toward bluster.

11:20 AM, December 21, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I once posted about another quotation you see even more: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

It's always being attributed to Einstein or even Benjamin Franklin, but the style and sentiment screams modern and new-agey. I'd bet whoever first said it attended a yoga class.

12:42 PM, December 21, 2013  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Hey, I'll have you know I have a groupon to attend 20 yoga classes.

I think we should start a PajamaGuy pool. to see how many I go to.

And how many it takes to make me agree with Anonymous.

2:37 PM, December 21, 2013  

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