UPDATE AUGUST 2013: Since writing this blog entry, I have lauched georgecarlin.net, which goes into a lot more detail about this topic, and now has the internet's biggest collection and analysis of authentic vs. bogus George Carlin quotations.
"The problem with quotes on the internet, is that it's hard to verify their authenticity."
- Abraham Lincoln
Ever since I got on the internet some 20 years ago, I've come across examples of rants and quotations that were falsely attributed to one famous person or another. You would think that with the internet growing and sites like Wikipedia and Snopes becoming more popular, a lot of that BS would have been corrected by now. Well, apparently not! I still see so many pics of falsely-attributed quotations shared by the thousands on Facebook. I even saw a sticker for sale on Amazon.com of one of these misattributed quotes. Again, you'd think that if a person was going to put the effort into making something like this, that he or she would at least try to check up on the quotation first. Nope.
One of the biggest targets of this problem has been -- guess who? -- George Carlin. To this day, there are still numerous joke lists, rants, and other writings that people have incorrectly attributed to Carlin.
Possibly the most popular of these is a piece called "The Paradox of Our Time". You've probably seen it. "We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. [..] We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor", etc. Basically, a whole woeful list of "We can do X in the 21st century, but we can't (and should be) doing Y" examples. You can read it in full over on Snopes.com, who has a page about it (with the explanation that Carlin did NOT write it): http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/paradox.asp
I've noticed that the piece gets passed around a lot esepcially after there's some widely-reported tragedy in the US. Not surprisingly, it was making its rounds again after the 2012 shootings in Newtown.
Here's what Carlin himself said about all of this back in 2001, on his official website:
DON'T BLAME ME
(The original page from which this was taken, was removed recently as a result of a complete revamping of the site. But it did show up on his official website, and you can see a copy of it archived here.)
Despite all this being made clear back in 2001, there are STILL idiots to this day who forward pics and emails saying that he wrote "The Paradox of Our Time". Hell, I've even seen "fan" sites for George Carlin who post them! You would think that a self-proclaimed "fan" of Carlin would have heard about it by now and know better.
What really pisses me off though is when I find somebody who does this, and explain to them "No, Carlin did not write this. And here's the evidence.", sometimes they'll still say "Well I still like the quote, so I'm going to keep it up on my page." What a bullshit excuse! If you fancy yourself a Carlin fan, then stop associating a bogus quote to him, especially after he made it clear that he doesn't want to be associated with it! And if you do like the quote, then give the credit to the person who actually wrote it, not to somebody else like Carlin, who didn't want to have anything to do with it!
So who DID write "The Paradox of Our Time"? Well as the Snopes page says, it was a minister named Bob Moorehead. It was published in 1995 in a collection of essays called "Words Aptly Spoken".
Oh, and by the way, Moorehead was arrested a year later for indecent exposure in a public restroom in Daytona Beach. Go figure.
So if you want a quote you can share with your Facebook friends or put on your own blog, try one of these ones which I created. Show them to the people who still share quotes falsely attributed to Carlin.