Cryptoquote Controversy

Apparently the quote in yesterday’s, 06/16/08, Cryptoquote – “Rivers in the United States are so polluted that acid rain makes them cleaner” – has been misattributed to Andrew Malcolm!  And, just how does your Uncle Rave know this, you might ask?  Well, the esteemed columnist, of both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, was nice enough to take the time to post a comment on this humble blog.  He simply wrote: “I never said or wrote that. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine.”  (And, I do quote!  Although, I suppose someone could’ve snuck on to his e-mail, while he was away from his desk, or – God forbid – someone could’ve hacked/hijacked his e-mail address!  But, I doubt it.)

This does bring up an interesting subject, though.  Sometimes (many times?) things on the internet can take on a life of their own.  Fortunately, this quote is pretty unobjectionable, barring that Mr. Malcolm isn’t one of those Big Oil loving, damn-the-torpedoes, global warming denier types.  But, the quote IS out there, on numerous Quote sites, and all attributed to Mr. Malcolm.  It reminds me of all the quips credited to the likes of George Carlin, Woody Allen, and Steven Wright.  There are tons of lines, out in cyber-space, that weren’t actually uttered, or written, by these well-known funnymen.  Even with various denials these mis-quotes just seem to go on and on.  They’ve taken on a life of their own.  To be generous, they’re un-truths.

It’s not just the internet, though, and it’s not just the present.  It’s also in the print media, the radio, and on television.  (Especially, on television!)  We are fed a very carefully manipulated reality on a daily basis.  The classic, most devastating, example of this would be during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  We were told that Iraq was – somehow – involved in the attacks of 9/11.  We were told that Iraq had WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction, for those of you who have forgotten)  And, we were told that Iraq desperately needed “regime change”, because Saddam was ‘killing his own people’.  Of course there was some truth in that last one, but it’s probably THE biggest fish story of this modern age.  It was getting to the point where just about ANY human bone, dug up in Mesopotamia, was due to Saddam Hussein’s savagery!  We heard these fabrication/allegations so frequently that a majority of Americans ended up believing them.  And, unfortunately, an all too large percentage of Americans still believe these . . . things, to this day.

Well now, some of you are wondering why your Uncle Rave wrote ‘and it’s not just the present’.  That’s because this type of media manipulation has been seen before.  How many of you have heard this quote before: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”?  This was from way back in the World War II era.  It’s only a partial quote too, because the speaker goes on to say: “The lie can be maintained for only such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.  It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”  Wow!  History buffs will remember this being said by Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda.  This unfortunate truth/strategy worked very well, for a fairly long period of time.  Just think how certain people, who have studied Mr. Goebbels and Human Psychology, could have adapted and refined this principle to our times.

Now, stuff like this will either make you think . . . or you’ll cry: My brain hurts! and you’ll turn on “The Simpsons” or “Desperate Housewives”.  But, that’s alright.  Really!  Some mindless escapism is necessary, in order to wind down from the stress and pressures of daily life.  It’s like reading the Funnies and the Sports pages, in the newspapers.  They’re also healthy distractions.  But, when you switch to the “News” . . . just keep the words of Mr. Goebbels in mind.

Your Uncle Rave

PS.  For more unnerving Joseph Goebbels quotes you can visit this site:


3 Responses to “Cryptoquote Controversy”

  1. 1 Colltales June 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    This is still extremely pertinent to the times we’re living in, perhaps even more than when you post it, in anticipation of it all. It’s not just the misquotes, but specially public officials’ rhetoric about the ‘need’ to go to war. The only difference is that now we simply never come back home; we just place troops all over the world, on a permanent basis. One may argue that all it’d have taken for anyone to challenge Bush’s lies about WMD in Iraq was to be minimally informed. Just a few years before, his dad had a choice to depose him and didn’t. It was a wise decision, since at that point, he was the only non-Muslim leader in the region, and he served as a strategic buffer isolating Iran from the world. But there’s more behind that decision too, besides alies’ pressure for him not to do it. In one word, oil, dear Uncle, the black gold. Thanks for this.

  2. 2 unclerave June 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Unclerave's Wordy Weblog and commented:

    This came up with the Cryptoquote from a few days ago. It’s from 8 years ago, but I think it’s still relevant. — YUR

  3. 3 haliburton76 June 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for reposting, UR. The “Big Lie” should give us all pause. The Internet could have given us the perfect tool to get facts and dispel propaganda, but instead it’s given us … well, what it’s given us. Also, I don’t like to think of the daily Jumble and Cryp as mindless diversions. Even the easy ones exercise the old neurons!

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