“The problem with the Internet is that it’s used more frequently to poison the populace with disinformation than it is to deliver enlightened discourse and elucidation.” — Abraham Lincoln.
Yeah, even the good things — the thoughtful parables, the wistful reveries, the butting witticisms — are far more often full of shit than they are real. If you see a quote stamped across a picture of a person pop up on your Facebook news feed, it’s likely a complete fabrication. At least 80 percent of the time, given my unscientific polling.
So, as a public service to you, dear reader, here’s the Top 5 Complete Bullshit Quotes You’ve Seen On Your Facebook Feed That If You See Again You Should Call Out The Person Who Shared It In An Embarrassing Manner:
1) “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This one is most commonly misattributed to Albert Einstein. He never said it. The earliest known use of the quote in print is a Narcotics Anonymous pamphlet from 1981.
2) “Well behaved women rarely make history.” This one most commonly lands at Marilyn Monroe’s feet, though I’ve seen at attributed to Margaret Thatcher and Eleanor Roosevelt as well. Lies. It was written (with the word “seldom” instead of “rarely” by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in her 1976 essay, “Vertuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735.”
3) “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.” Thomas Jefferson gets this one most commonly attributed to him — usually thanks to some random Republican on your feed. He never said it. The first known usage, according to Monticello.org, was in a newspaper somewhere in 1953.
4) “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Always misattributed to Henry Ford. Harvard Business Review did a dive and couldn’t find an actual instance of him ever saying it.
5) “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I’m bookending this list with another Einstein quote. Truth is, I could have done a top-10 just on bullshit he didn’t ever say. In this case, this actual author is under dispute, but QuoteInvestigator.com is quite sure it wasn’t Einstein.
Now, go forth and hold your unthinking friends accountable for their trespasses against reason.