Sunday, December 16, 2012

Think About This...

Every time I read a quote on Facebook (well, almost anywhere on the internet, actually), I'm skeptical about its attribution (and its accuracy). I don't expect people to cite their sources on social media (though it wouldn't hurt...); but, realistically, how does one, in fact, find out who actually said/wrote a particular statement? Is it even possible? (I know there are books of quotes (for every occasion!), but who's to say that those were documented properly to begin with?)

In the book Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution, one of author Derrick Jensen's epigraphs is thus: "If they give you lined paper, write the other way." He follows it up with this "attribution": "(I don't know who first said this. It might have beeen [sic] Ray Bradbury, William Carlos Williams, e.e cummings, or Juan Ramón Jiménez.)" I commend him for covering his bases: He lists all the options that come up if you google the quote. (Also, if you google it, there's a version which comes up as "ruled paper" instead of "lined paper.")

Then, there's the current flurry of Facebook activity around the Morgan Freeman statement (regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy), which apparently he didn't say. Or...did he? What if the hoax alert is a hoax? And maybe it matters, and maybe it doesn't. I'm certainly not going to believe something or agree with something just because a celebrity says it anyway.

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

1 comment:

  1. Take the words for the words, not the words for the attribution.