Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Does It Matter Who Said What?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

By now, many of you have probably seen this article about the quote that was partially misattributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. and spread like wildfire through the lands of Facebook and Twitter. The quote was being spread in response to the death of Osama bin Laden, and went a little something like this:
"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.
So apparently, this is the real scoop:
Megan McArdle, a blogger at the Atlantic, tracked the original quote down to Jessica Dovey, a recent Penn State grad living in Kobe, Japan, who posted this as her Facebook status:
I will 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." MLK Jr.
The first sentence is Ms. Dovey's own, followed by a quotation from King's 1963 book, "Strength to Love." At some point along the way, the quote marks vanished, and Dovey's words got mixed up with King's. Subsequently, the quote was shortened, leaving only Dovey's line, now attributed to the civil rights leader.

Some took this as a real "you can't believe everything you see on the internet" kind of moment, while others ask, "What's the big deal, anyway? It was a good quote, no matter who said it."

So what do you think? As always, I have thoughts of my own, but for now in the true spirit of Coffee Talk, I open up the comment box for you all to 'talk amongst yourselves.'

Naturally, the internet did not introduce the dawn of misattributing of quotes. You've probably all heard the 'Peace Prayer' of St. Francis of Assisi, which I learned (while studying at Franciscan University of Steubenville) was not written by St. Francis at all. But still, it's a lovely prayer.

So what's your opinion? Does it matter who said something, and if so, why? Or does the significance of a statement rest entirely on its content, and not its author or speaker?

Don't be shy. Talk amongst yourselves!

In the meantime, I'm going to bed. Sick kiddos are sleeping, and so must I, lest the sleep be interrupted many times during the night. Prayers are appreciated!

Peace and all good,

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