History Always Repeats Itself Essay

History Always Repeats Itself Essay-15
But Arianna kept tweeting out “Twain” quotes -- it seemed she was touting a slideshow on the Huffington Post -- so I clicked on it with a sense of trepidation. What awaited the reader were 27 quotes, most of which were not Twain, starting with the first one: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The rest were purloined from other writers, fabricated out of whole cloth, or of unknown derivation, but not traceable to Mark Twain. There is no evidence, for instance, that Twain ever deadpanned that quitting smoking was easy because “I’ve done it thousands of times.” Others were comically wrong.

But Arianna kept tweeting out “Twain” quotes -- it seemed she was touting a slideshow on the Huffington Post -- so I clicked on it with a sense of trepidation. What awaited the reader were 27 quotes, most of which were not Twain, starting with the first one: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The rest were purloined from other writers, fabricated out of whole cloth, or of unknown derivation, but not traceable to Mark Twain. There is no evidence, for instance, that Twain ever deadpanned that quitting smoking was easy because “I’ve done it thousands of times.” Others were comically wrong.

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Cannon Not an early adapter to social media, I became a Twitter convert after Real Clear Politics’ co-founder Tom Bevan impressed upon me the value of using tweets to tout my colleagues’ work -- a worthy cause.

Other uses for the medium presented themselves in the past year: being apprised of last-minute changes in presidential campaign schedules, fact-checking alerts, and news bulletins on unfolding events ranging from Hurricane Sandy to the perfect game being hurled by Seattle’s “King Felix” Hernandez.

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. It was first applied to smoking, and to Twain, by the Journal of the American Medical Association and Reader’s Digest in the 1940s.] 10. The “Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs” traces similar lines to the 14th century.] 13.

I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” [Not Twain; this is a variation on an old joke -- told by W. “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” [True] 11. “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” [Not Twain.

I’ll go through the entire Huff Po list at the end of this piece, but first let’s look a bit more closely at one of its entries: the folk wisdom that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

This thought has also been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, without proof, although it’s the kind of thing Lincoln might have said -- because the sentiment is found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs.The “Yale Book of Quotations” finds the “fool” line in a 1923 letter to the editor of a Chicago newspaper.Quote Investigator, a website run by another Yale man named Garson O’Toole, finds an earlier usage -- in a 1907 book titled “Mrs.“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” [True] 6.“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” [Not Twain; Maurice Switzer.] 7.These range from one established by a conscientious amateur Twain aficionada named Barbara Schmidt to Winston Churchill.org, which is run by the Churchill Centre and Museum in London.The latter site even has a section called “Quotes Falsely Attributed.” In his anthology, Shapiro goes the extra mile in tracking down the origin of erroneous quotes.Yet, Twitter also lends itself to one of the Internet’s most noxious features -- the dissemination of bogus and misattributed quotations.My “friends,” to use the nomenclature of another social networking site, know phony quotes to be my pet peeve.In the pre-Internet days, “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” and “The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations” were the gold standards, although sometimes misattributed quotes found their way into those volumes.Much of this material is now online, but the best source of accurate quotes today is the “Yale Book of Quotations,” edited by the rigorous and charming Fred R. Many of the most frequently misquoted historical figures have websites devoted to keeping the record straight for their heroes.

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