Misquoting Shakespeare. Again.

Let me begin with a digression on memes. Like a virus, a meme can spread uncontrollably in the right environment and infect millions with an idea or goal. This, of course, is good for such advocates of social ideals as Greenpeace or PETA, but like viruses, there can be bad memes that do more damage than good. More, it seems, than good or socially … (more)

Nope, That’s Not by Marcus Aurelius

An image appeared on Facebook purporting to be a quotation taken from Marcus Aurelius. Having read his Meditations more than once, I was baffled because it didn’t look at all familiar. The quote is: Everything we hear is a opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. It’s a good line, but I can’t find it in any online … (more)

Survival of the Fittest

Charles Darwin has long been associated with the phrase, “survival of the fittest.” For a century and a half people have used it to refer to their understanding of his explanation of how species evolved. But it wasn’t his. And it has obscured the understanding of Darwin’s own theory. It came from a contemporary, Herbert Spencer. Spencer was a contemporary of Darwin – an English … (more)

The Unknown Monk Meme

This pseudo-poem popped up on Facebook today. It’s been around the Net for a few years, without any source attributed to the quote, but it seems to be making its comeback in the way these falsely-attributed things do: When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change … (more)

Plato, Music and Misquotes

I spent a pleasant morning, Saturday, browsing through the works of Plato, hunting for the source of a quotation I saw on Facebook, today.* I did several textual searches for words, phrases and quotes on sites that offer his collected works, along with other works by classical authors. Now I must admit that in my reading, I have not read everything Plato wrote. I’ve … (more)

Yet More Quotes with False Attributions

It seems a good week for mis-attributed Francis of Assisi quotes. Someone on Facebook posted an image with the following quote: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. St. Francis of Assisi” That’s simply “Francis … (more)

More Facebook Mis-quotes

Saw three images (“posters”) on Facebook today with “quotes” I’m pretty sure are mis-attributions. As usual, I feel compelled to check out their validity. First is one allegedly by “St. Francis of Assisi.” This would be simply “Francis of Assisi” if you’re not Catholic or don’t believe in saints or canonization. One day I’ll post a blog piece about canonization and its politics, but … (more)

It’s not an Apache blessing, it’s just a Hollywood script

“May the sun bring you new energy by day,” begins this saccharine saying that has enjoyed a continued life outside Facebook through the fridge magnet and huggable-puppies-and-kittens-on-posters and wedding planner industries. It gets passed off as an “Apache blessing” or “Apache wedding blessing” on Facebook, usually with some hunk-ish Indian brave pictures beside the words or some faux-Indian animal fetish images. The rest of … (more)

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