Tuesday, May 3, 2011

With the death of Osama bin Laden, a fake Martin Luther King quote is born.

In the past 24 hours, I've seen this "quote" posted by many different people in my Facebook feed, apparently as a counterreaction to the celebration of the death of bin Laden:

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Megan McArdle points out that the first sentence of that "quote" was probably never said by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
[I]t's a bit too a propos. What "thousands" would King have been talking about? In which enemy's death was he supposed to be rejoicing? . . .
In fairness, the rest of the quote was really said by King (repeatedly, as documented by Wikiquote). But that's no excuse for opportunistically fabricating the one sentence.

McArdle goes on:
What's fascinating is the speed of it. Someone made up a quote, attributed it to MLK jr, and disseminated it widely, all within 24 hours. Why? What do you get out of saying something pithy, and getting no credit for it?

Perhaps they only wanted to say this thing, and knew that no one would pay attention unless it came from someone else. Or, perhaps they are getting a gargantuan kick out of seeing people repeat their lie ad infinitum.
You know what I hate? Genocidal terrorists.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A lie that caught me until a friend pointed it out but incorrect attribution doesn't make the quote wrong.

bin Ladin's death won't change the facts, celebrating on the scale we've seen will only stoke the fire. One side has to be strong enough to recognise when it's time to lay down their weapon - no-one's stepped up yet.

Consider also what circumstances create a genocidal terrorist. Rarely are they simply born to it.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Consider also what circumstances create a genocidal terrorist.

I don't know "what circumstances create" a terrorist, but I'm highly skeptical of the usual "root causes" explanations, based on reading two commentators at opposite ends of the political spectrum: Michael Walzer and Jonah Goldberg.

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