The Corner

The Book of Proverbs to Abraham Lincoln to Jeremiah Wright’s Mother to Jeremiah Wright to the Media = The Book of Proverbs

In a good old-fashioned game of “telephone” (or 5th-grade gossip), here’s an example of what happens when people quote other people paraphrasing other people misquoting other people paraphrasing the Bible. Some in the media quoted Jeremiah Wright quoting his mother quoting Abraham Lincoln paraphrasing Proverbs; thus, it became Holy Scripture.

Here’s Wright:

My mother’s advice was being seen […] all over the corporate media channels, and it’s a paraphrase of the Book of Proverbs, where it is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

This, of course, is gospel. So, Dana Milbank writes:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, explaining this morning why he had waited so long before breaking his silence about his incendiary sermons, offered a paraphrase from Proverbs: “It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

And over at TNR:

To wit: Breaking his silence to the DC press corps today, Wright had the audacity to cite Proverbs: “It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Sadly it wasn’t King Solomon or even Wright’s mother who came up with that, but rather Abraham Lincoln, who was paraphrasing Proverbs 17:28, which says, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”

Since Milbank was linked by Drudge, I do wonder how many people will think this is actually from the Bible.

Nathan Goulding — Nathan Goulding is the Chief Technology Officer of National Review. He often goes by “Chaka” in NRO’s popular blog The Corner. While having never attended a class in computer science, ...

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