[PW] Verifying Duchamp Quote

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Tue Nov 28 08:22:12 PST 2017

On Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 10:57 AM, Elizabeth Barksdale <
ebarksdale at udallas.edu> wrote:

general question for Garson and everyone else-- has it ever been your
> experience that sometimes quotes are possibly real, maybe hearsay, and
> there's not a sure way to know which is which?

Oh yes, particularly when dealing with what people are supposed to have
*said* as opposed to written.  Even relatively verbatim transcribers like
the Congressional Record and various national Hansards are not entirely to
be trusted, as they routinely clean up language.  News sources edit what
people say relentlessly to make it into prose.  (The one time I was
interviewed, the reporter sent me a draft of her article, which was filled
with me saying all sorts of gibberish.  I sent it back at once with the
gibberish translated into English prose that correctly represented what I
was saying, and she thanked me for the extra effort.)

The only completely safe primary sources for speech are video and audio,
and even they can be easily and cheaply edited nowadays.  It's kind of
ironic that ever since the Rodney King business we place great emphasis on
video/audio evidence as well as eyewitness testimony, just as the first is
now subject to almost unlimited tampering and the second has been
discredited by tests like the monkey-business illusion <

In the end, multiple paper copies held in libraries are one of the few
highly tamper-resistant sources of data.  The Ministry of Truth would have
a much easier time of it today than in 1984, never mind 1948 when Orwell
was writing.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Mos Eisley spaceport.  You will never see a more wretched hive of scum
and villainy --unless you watch the Jerry Springer Show.

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