Man Without Qualities

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Who Needs Snopes When You Can Pick Up Any Dictionary?

The New York Times:

[Matt] Drudge escalated his attacks last week after [Barbra] Streisand gave a speech in which she claimed to be quoting Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war
in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor,
for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword.
It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind

The problem, as Mr. Drudge gleefully pointed out, is that Shakespeare didn't write it., a site that debunks so-called urban legends, has identified the quotation as an Internet hoax, which entered circulation in late 2001.

Capsule Biography of Shakespeare:

Shakespeare ... continued to write until his death in 1616 on the day of his 52nd birthday.

Merriam-Webster Online:

One entry found for patriotism.

Main Entry: pa·tri·ot·ism
Pronunciation: 'pA-trE-&-"ti-z&m, chiefly British 'pa-
Function: noun
Date: circa 1726
: love for or devotion to one's country

UPDATE: Stuart Buck notes his sense that the phrase "the mind has closed" has an rather modern sound to it.

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