Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Half a brick

Penn Jillette is getting some abuse today for misquoting Martin Luther King Jr. on Twitter after the news about Osama bin Laden. I've been watching the whole thing unfold. First I saw him tweet the quote
 Penn Jillette 
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." - Martin Luther King, Jr
Then he retweeted a message to him with a link to a story that said it wasn't a real MLK quote. And he explained what happened.
 Penn Jillette 
I checked a long quote from MLK's "Strength to love" 1963 that spoke to some of my feelings, then I cut and pasted an altered hunk. Sorry.
Then @treelobsters started with fake quotes. This is my favorite part. The second one is gold.
 Tree Lobsters! 
"I've never wished a man dead but, dude, this guy was a serious dick." 

 Tree Lobsters! 
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still getting groped by airport security." 
And finally @treelobsters tweeted a link to a salon.com article scolding Penn Jillette for starting this misquote that got repeated all day. This is where it gets silly. It accuses him of being disrespectful to Dr. King. How?! This topic was more interesting when it was a joke. Now I just feel bad that Penn Jillette is wasting a day on damage control from good intentions.

I leave you with this quote. A real one. I checked with Stephen Leacock, 1980. He can't actually verify it, but he will back me up if salon.com attacks me for it.
"A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries better." - Stephen Leacock, Canadian humorist, 1869-1944
*UPDATE: CNN put up an article about the same thing today with more details on the misquoted Mark Twain.

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