Editor’s Note We commissioned Professor Matterson to research fake news in pop culture and throughout history, as his notes below reveal. He told us that “Any simplistic narrative about fake news is problematic.”
Leaders of Western Thought
“Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either fake or real, but thinking makes it so. To me CNN is a prison. Well, then it isn’t one to you, since nothing is really real or fake in itself—it’s all what a person thinks about it. And to me, CNN is a prison.” –William Shakespeare, Fake Hamlet
“The propensity to truck, barter and exchange fake news is common to all men. It is not out of benevolence that the fake news writer writes fake news.” –Adam Smith
Thus “fake news” means αποφαινεσθαι τα φαινομενα–to let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself. –Heidegger
It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and fake news. –Alexander Hamilton, Fakeralist 1
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of fake news may speedily pass away.” –Abraham Lincoln, Second Fake Inaugural Address
“America is great because she bans fake news and if America ever ceases to ban fake news, she will cease to be great.” – Fake Tocqueville
so much depends
a fake news
glazed with russian
beside the white
–William Carlos Williams
These fake news articles I have shored against my ruins. –T.S. Eliot, The Fake Waste Land
Two clicks diverged on the internets, and I—
I took the #fakenews less trending by,
And that has made all the difference.
–Robert Frost, The Fake Road Not Taken
Sing, O Muse, of the fake news of Achilles… –Homer, The Fake Illiad
Wily Odysseus, sacker of cities, creator of fake news. –Homer, The Fake Odyssey
No man reads the same fake news twice, for it is not the same fake news and he is not the same man. –Heraclitus
Everything not based on numbers is fake news but you aren’t allowed to know it. Hippasus told someone that rumors about the square root of two was not fake news. So they killed him. –Pythagoras
This is the fake news that ought to be true. –Herodotus
I only fake that I fake nothing. –Socrates
Justice is fake news. –Thrasymachus
Fake news is a plucked chicken. –Diogenes
All men live in a cave of fake news and the news that claims not to be fake is the fakest. –Plato
All men by nature desire news. A sign of this is the delight we take in fake news. –Aristotle
I sing of fake news and the man… –Virgil
#fakenews delenda est! –Cicero
Caesar believes his own fake news. –Brutus
In most cases men willingly believe the #fakenews. –Caesar
My senses are not fake news. –Epicurus
Fake news should not affect us. –Stoics
Lord, make me stop reading #fakenews, but not yet. –St. Augustine
Get the news into precise Latin so we can figure out whether or not it is fake. –William of Moerbeke
Only a few people, with much difficulty, after a long time will avoid fake news without the good news. –Thomas Aquinas
There is hell to pay for fake news. –Dante
Who will rid me of this of this purveyor of fake news? –Henry II
Use fake news for the good of the state. –Machiavelli
What can I print that is not fake news? –Gutenberg
We need a method to deal with fake news. –Descartes
Man is born free but everywhere there is fake news. –Rousseau
Reason is a scout for the fake news. –Hobbes
If you read my fake news, you are going to make a lot of money. –Locke
Fake news is either a 1 or a 0. –Leibniz
The Fifth Postulate is fake news. –Gauss
The fake news and the real news never touch. –Kant
They pretty much touch, but only at the end. –Hegel
The good news is fake news. –Feuerbach
Makes up fake news because he thinks the good news is fake news. –Spinoza
All happy news is alike, but all fake news is fake in its own way. –Tolstoy
If there is a gun in the first scene it will go off in the second. I fake you not. –Chekhov
You inherited fake news from your syphilitic father. –Ibsen
Fake news makes you stronger. –Nietzsche
The news should be stood on its head. The point is not to interpret the news, but to fake it. –Marx
Three generations of fake news is enough. –Oliver Wendell Holmes
Fake news is not the case. –Wittgenstein
Space and time as you know them are fake news. –Einstein
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of fake news. –Churchill
I have a hard time caring about fake news so I killed someone on the beach. –Camus
Fake news is banal. –Hannah Arendt
Fake news may contain news if read closely. –Leo Strauss
The way to good news is through a land of fake news. –C.S. Lewis
The fake news must be thrown into Mount Doom. –Tolkien
This is not news. –René Magritte
It’s fake news all the way down. –Richard Rorty
Fake news is power. –Foucault
Fake news is neoliberalism. –Zizek
Western Civ and Fake News in Three Sentences
Socrates argued against fake news but said that to write it down would be fake news. Plato wrote about Socrates arguing against fake news. Aristotle wrote lectures about how the news does not have to be fake.
Islam: Blame Israel and the United States for fake news.
Judaism: Why are we always in the fake news?
Catholicism: You should feel guilty about fake news.
Jesuits: Who are we to judge fake news?
Traditional: Pope Francis is fake news.
Protestantism: Jesus saved me from the fake news.
–Evangelical: Let’s celebrate fake news!
–Calvinism: God will punish fake news.
Jehovah’s Witnesses: May I talk with you about the fake news?
Christian Science: Fake news is all in your mind.
Ecumenism: Any fake news will do.
Capitalism: I’m making money off fake news right now.
Fascism: You will listen to the news!
Communism: You will listen to everybody’s news!
Presidents and American Statesmen
The cherry tree bit was fake news, but I don’t lie. –George Washington
The HBO series about me was partly fake news, but I’ll take it. –John Adams
Some things can’t be faked. –Thomas Jefferson
I’m satisfied with Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s fake news. –Alexander Hamilton
Fake news started the Civil War. –Abraham Lincoln
Make the world safe for fake news. –Woodrow Wilson
The only thing we have to fear is fake news itself. –Franklin Delano Roosevelt
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the #fakenews complex. –Dwight D. Eisenhower
I am not fake news! –Nixon
The fake news is our fault and makes us sad. –Carter
Mr. Gorbachev, tear up that #fakenews! –Reagan
This fake news will not stand. –George H.W. Bush
The era of fake news is over. –Bill Clinton
Fake news misunderestimated me. –George W. Bush
We are the #fakenews we’ve been waiting for. –Barack Obama
“Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was #fakenews killed the Beast.” – King Kong
“When the #fakenews becomes fact, print the #fakenews.” –The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
“I am big! It’s the #fakenews that got small.” –Sunset Boulevard
“You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of #fakenews, which is what I am.” –On the Waterfront
“Forget it, Jake. It’s #fakenews.” –Chinatown
“Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty #fakenews” –Planet of the Apes
“#fakenews is people!” –Soylent Green
“The greatest trick the #fakenews ever pulled was convincing the world it didn’t exist.” –Usual Suspects
“That’s like, your #fakenews, man.” – Big Lebowski
“Say what you will about the tenets of #fakenews, Dude, at least it’s an ethos” –Big Lebowski
“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t #fakenews.” –Godfather
“Keep your friends close, but your #fakenews closer” –Godfather II
“I love the smell of #fakenews in the morning.” –Apocalypse Now
“#fakenews is the path to the dark side” –Star Wars
“A fact-checker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” –The Silence of the Lambs
“You can’t handle the #fakenews!” – A Few Good Men
“My mama always said life was like a box of fake news. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump
“I see #fakenews” – The Sixth Sense
“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our #fakenews!” – Braveheart
“And that’s the way it is.” –Walter Kronkite