Putting That Quotation in Scare Quotes, or Bob’s Shepherd’s Laws of Quotation and Attribution in the Age of the Internet

1. In the age of the Internet, all quotations should be suspect but aren’t.

2. All quotations get improved by repeated transmission.

3. Few quotations on Internet threads resemble, even remotely, their originals.

4. When in doubt, attribute a quotation, randomly, to one of the following: Aristotle, da Vinci, Lincoln, Bentham, Mill, Wilde, Churchill, Yeats, Russell, Einstein, or Gandhi. If it’s funny, attribute it to Mark Twain or Yogi Berra. Any such attribution will be widely believed.

5. When making such an attribution, don’t give the source because there isn’t one.

And finally, this, which I will leave unsourced because I am too lazy to look it up:

“You can’t believe most of what you read on the Internet.”
–Abraham Lincoln

For more pieces by Bob Shepherd on the topic of Education “Reform,” go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/ed-reform/

For more pieces on the teaching of literature and writing, go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/teaching-literature-and-writing/


About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation
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