The origins of a fake Martin Luther King Quote

One day post the demise of OBL and the social media streams are still flooding with reactions. It’s pretty amazing to sit back and watch. My own contributions to the discussion was to question the merits of the “burial at sea” and to suggest that I would be using the responses of my friends to place them on some sort of political spectrum.

Oh. And. I posted this clip from Four Lions.

 

The “Christian” response to the death of the globe’s most infamous terrorist has been pretty startling and interesting, and probably more to do with one’s political persuasions than convictions about human life. A concern for human life, and its dignity, is what drives the fight against terrorism (or the “war against an abstract noun”) – so it is not necessarily anti-life to celebrate the demise of one committed to ending other lives.

I’ve enjoyed some of the more moderate responses too – Kevin De Young and Doug Wilson’s in particular…

I do sometimes yearn for more crazy friends with crazy conspiracy theories. I have a couple. Hey guys. Thanks. If you’re reading. But on the whole my newsfeed was leaning conservative on Facebook and lefty on Twitter. Odd. There’s not a huge overlap between who I follow on each. Anyway. One of the quotes that started springing up from my less gung-ho friends was this quote attributed to Martin Luther King.

“”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”

That’s the abridged version. The full version is here…

“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.”

Now, the excerpt is completely bogus. It’s not anything MLK ever said. See this story from The Atlantic. The second half is legit. It’s an actual quote. So how did the first bit get tacked on? It seems it was a case of Facebook Whispers. Here is the thread that apparently started the viral ball going (according to Reddit).

Here’s the legit bit:

“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, Where Do We Go from Here : Chaos or Community?

Somebody missed the quotation marks in the middle when transmitting the quote, and the rest, as they say, is fake history.

“The problem with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they’re attributed correctly.” – Abraham Lincoln

Let the social media fun continue, slightly abated…

On beans…

Walden is a famous book by Henry David Thoreau. It’s almost a precursor to the modern – or post modern – practice of sustainable living. But indirectly it has a lot to say about coffee.

During his hermitage Thoreau grew beans for a living. He reflected often on beans. Here are some prescient quotes – if I were to start a coffee shop today I’d call it Walden.

“I was determined to know beans.”

“Most men I do not meet at all, for they seem not to have time; they are busy about their beans.”

“Why concern ourselves so much about our beans for seed, and not be concerned at all about a new generation of men? We should really be fed and cheered if when we met a man we were sure to see that some of the qualities which I have named, which we all prize more than those other productions, but which are for the most part broadcast and floating in the air, had taken root and grown in him. Here comes such a subtile and ineffable quality, for instance, as truth or justice, though the slightest amount or new variety of it, along the road.”

“What shall I learn of beans or beans of me? I cherish them, I hoe them, early and late I have an eye to them; and this is my day’s work. It is a fine broad leaf to look on.”

“I was much slower, and became much more intimate with my beans than usual. But labor of the hands, even when pursued to the verge of drudgery, is perhaps never the worst form of idleness. It has a constant and imperishable moral, and to the scholar it yields a classic result.”

What is news

Here’s a little quote I found from England’s media baron (Lord actually) and father of tabloid journalism Alfred Harmsworth that is vaguely relevant to the discussion about persuasion, influence and manipulation and says a lot about the nature of news and PR.

“News is something someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising.”

There are a heap of journalism quotes here.

Driscollisms

I’m about to break an unofficial rule – and post something about Mark Driscoll. If you’ve never heard of him – look him up on wikipedia – or check out his blog at his church’s website.

I’ve mentioned him a couple of times – but I know that he doesn’t really like bloggers. Unless they’re flattering. I also don’t want to appear to be a fan boy. I think he’s good – but not the second coming.

Will Henderson is a pressy guy in the US learning about Church Planting. That pretty much means hanging around as many Mark Driscoll fanboys as possible and learning from them.

He’s just posted a list of quotable quotes from a recent talk Driscoll gave. Here are my favourites:

“If ALL you are into is NEW you will end up a heretic. God call us to contend & Contextualise.”

“Preaching the gospel? There will be critics everywhere online permanent. Turn them into coaches. Never engage on their terms. In your anger do not sin. Avoid email.”

Who said this…

“I had two women police officers come around who looked like cabaret artistes – all fishnet stockings and deep cleavage – and they did not exactly engender confidence.”

Answer: Australia’s celebrated feminist Germaine Greer after her home was broken into. Talk about undermining equality in the workplace.