Remember when Facebook had a section on your profile where you could type out your favorite quotes? For all I know, it could still have this section, but if so it’s apparently buried among the many other changes to the site that have been implemented for the pure sake of busywork. But that’s another topic for another day.
Anyway, I never liked the quote section of Facebook, especially when people typed out like ten quotes that all said basically the same contrived thing. These were often of the “Live simply, laugh often, love deeply” variety and were accompanied by lyrics to “I Hope You Dance.” Really? Of ALL the quotes in the world, this is what you’re choosing? Tsk, tsk; someone was too busy listening to adult contemporary to read the memo on how easy it is to come off looking like a moron on Facebook.
Well, I’m glad at least someone gleaned some inspiration from the music being played in the waiting room of the dentist’s office.
But even if the quotes were a bit more substantial (ie, written by someone who was not being paid by Hallmark), I still got annoyed with them. Again, my annoyance was exacerbated when the quotes came in rapid fire. The person would have a thoughtful and feasibly inspirational quote from Emerson or Thoreau. (Those Transcendentalists sure speak to our generation, eh?) Then, with no warning whatsoever, the next quote would be from some random episode of Friends when Joey drops a meatball sub. The next would be from the Bible. Followed by the next that would come from Ronald Reagan where he waxed poetic about horses or something.
I’ll give it to you that everyone has disparate interests. Watch me drop this one:
“Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I contain multitudes.” Walt Whitman
Oh yeah! I can wield me a quote! So, yeah, I’ll give it to you that by virtue of our humanity, we’re multifaceted and the quotes we identify with are not going to fall in one single category. But seriously; on Facebook, let’s just keep it down to one or two. Choose the quote you want to sum yourself up with or else confirm all your “friends’ ” suspicions that you’re just as schizophrenic as you seemed in college. Edit, folks, edit.
I think my main beef with people who “collect” quotes and then rattle them off with no commentary whatsoever is rooted in my own aversion to share the ones that mean a lot to me. I have a need to thoroughly explain why a quote is important or relevant to me, and if no opportunity to comment on its importance is provided, I’d rather just forego the quoting and instead create my own content.
Plus, I studied English for too long not to feel as though I’m hiding behind other people’s words when I start quoting them all the time. There is, after all, something to say for an author’s intention and context. Words are fluid and so is the mind, but it’s a failure on our part as readers and passers-on of quotes if we take the ones that sound good and perpetuate them with little regard to their original intent. This is why I cringe a lot of the time when Nietzsche is quoted.
Come to think of it, I also lived in Illinois for long enough to now equate sloppy quoting with tomfoolery and trickery, thanks to Rod Blagojevich.
Should I end this post with a quote? Probably. Someone could’ve always said it better than me.