Putting Us On

Posted in Commodity Wisdom, Library of Congress, The Internet by chamblee54 on January 28, 2016





It all started innocently enough. There was a tasteful meme. A picture of Mark Twain graced these words “Sometimes i wonder whether the world is being run by smart people, who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” PG decided to do due diligence research.

Before you could say Samuel Clemons, there was evidence that the quote was not genuine. According to the word detective, the phrase “putting us on” was not used before 1958. Several helpful people attributed the quote to The Peter Principle. A written source is handy in these situations.

The fbf had a familiar reaction. ” I’ve never really cared if a quote attribution was authentic, if I like what the quote us expressing.” This got PG thinking, which can be dangerous. If something makes people feel good, does it really matter who said it? It is like singular they…there is a gut feeling that something is wrong, but articulating a reason is tough.

PG asked Mr. Google “does it matter if the quote is real.” The top result was All Fake Buddha Quotes. “we have a sister site, Real Buddha Quotes, where you’ll find other genuine quotations from the Buddhist scriptures.” Most people in America equate scriptures with the Bible, where the supreme content provider is Jesus. The Biblical words of Jesus are accepted as “Gospel truth” by some, though not everyone. The idea that Siddhartha Gautama, who lived a few hundred years before Jesus, could have verbatim scriptures is probably open to dispute.

The Fake Buddha Quotes site has some good links. “It doesn’t matter who said it, as long as it’s inspiring.” has a tasteful meme: “Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much, Adolph Hitler.” A seeker-of-truth opines: “Why do I care, you ask? Because it’s a waste of time. Because I want to believe that the people around me aren’t knee-jerk emotional reactionists willing to dispense with logic because the internet is such a shining bastion of quality information. Because it takes no time at all to stop, consider, and question. Because truth is better than bullshit. Because right is better than wrong…”

The rest of the first google page is devoted to goodreads and Brainy Quote, two of the worst offenders in the commodity wisdom market. (One spell check suggestion for goodreads is goo dreads.) Goodreads has Quotes About Real Love (126 quotes,) Reality (2669 quotes,) What Matters (29 quotes,) and Authenticity (317 quotes.) Brainy Quote has Real Thing Quotes, Confucius Quotes, and Real Man Quotes. Pictures for your reality based entertainment today are from The Library of Congress. These men were soldiers in The War Between The States.





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