Friday, May 30, 2014

"Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." --George W. Bush

Well, I nearly unfollowed someone on Twitter today -- a company, actually.. I'm not going to say who, but I am going to say why, which means if they read this blog they'll know it's them (but no one else will, I think). Sorry.

Everyone likes a good inspirational quote; the internet's full of them. You've probably shared a bunch of them yourself. On Twitter, with its 140-character limit, they thrive. But I've mentioned in previous posts that I have a knack for trivia. That doesn't just mean that I remember lots of otherwise useless information. Oh, no, if only it were that innocuous. When I learn something new, I have to be sure it's true. That means if you tell me a rule, I will pull out the rule book. If you assert an odd fact, I will google it. And if you quote someone, I will look up the source. It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that I'm going to want to use that bit of trivia myself, and when I do, I'm going to want sources to back me up.

That's why I'm considering unfollowing them. You see, they like to tweet quotes. LOTS of quotes. But they don't check the sources, and it drives me nuts when they misattribute them, as they so often do. Some examples:

"A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes -- The Supremes."  Oh, no. That's from Disney's Cinderella. Written in 1949, when Diana Ross was just 5 years old. The Supremes may have covered the song, but they're not the source.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again -- W. C. Fields."  Really? Nope. That's from Thomas H. Palmer's "The Teacher's Manual," dated 1840. Funnily enough, if they had just tweeted this, without attribution, I would have just accepted it as an aphorism of no particular origin.

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. --Satchel Paige." This one's tough, because the Satchel Paige attribution is fairly widespread. But according to The Quote Investigator website (where they've actually done some real research on it), it's much, much more recent. I'm talking 1987 recent, derived from song lyrics by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh, and performed here by Kathy Mattea.

Anyway, for someone who has an obsession with a perfectly normal appreciation for trivia like I do, this is maddening. I'm not going to unfollow them, though. Oh, no. Now, when my Twitter feed flickers and a new quote appears, I'll just take a deep breath, open up my browser to, and take the opportunity to learn something new.
By the way, the quote in the title? I didn't make that up

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