Re: re: (with nods to Twain and Spurgeon too)
That article was beautifully ironic. It basically traced three centuries of misquotes, misattributions, and almost certain malattributions--of a quote about truth's disadvantage when combating lies.
I'm stunned by the researcher's restraint--he made no reference to this fact.
But Swift's discourse is not about the speed of transmission--he is talking about efficacy.
"Besides, as the vilest Writer has his Readers, so the greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect..."
1710 November 2 to November 9, The Examiner, Number 15, (Article by Jonathan Swift), Quote Page 2, Column 1, Printed for John Morphew, near Stationers-Hall, London.
"If a Lie be believed only for an hour, it has done it's work." THAT is a quote that deserves prominent display in many offices. Unfortunately, most of them would cause me more dismay than satisfaction.