In the past week or so, I've seen this meme at least twice. The second time I saw this, the guy who posted it commented "Carlin pulled no punches."
Both times I've seen this meme featuring George Carlin, I've hidden it. Why? Because I am very certain that George Carlin never said this. It pisses me off when people put words in George's mouth, especially since he's dead. I loved and respected his work and I'm absolutely sure he never would have said anything like this. Carlin's comedy celebrated obstruction and fighting the establishment. He was a champion of resistance and bucking authority. It's wrong to attribute these words to him or to insinuate that he said them by using his picture with someone else's words.
Even if I agreed wholeheartedly with this meme's sentiment, which I don't, I would not agree that it's okay to claim that these are George Carlin's words, especially when there is ample evidence that they aren't. Behold...
Is this a case of GMTA? Somehow, I doubt it. I bet Morgan Freeman didn't say this, either.
I'm sure many people think I'm being anal retentive about this issue. They wonder what the harm is, especially since so many folks seem to think this is a good thought. Well, I'll tell you what the harm is. The harm is that George Carlin and Morgan Freeman are legends, but they are (or were) also people. A person has the right to free expression and freedom from being used to promote someone else's agenda without their permission. My guess is that people make these memes because they think Carlin or Freeman have the right persona to drive home this particular sentiment. But what right does one person have to use another person like that, even if the person being used is (or was) famous? And even if the person posting the fake meme is simply being a provocateur?
Mr. Carlin is no longer alive to defend himself when someone falsely uses his likeness to express their ideas. And while many people think this quote is excellent, the person who actually came up with it should be the one who gets attributed, not a random famous person who may or may not have even agreed with it.
Two more said this? Really? I don't think so.
There is nothing wrong with sharing ideas or quotes on Facebook or other social media. I just think that if you're going to use a meme with a quote, especially when you use a famous person's image, you should make sure the person pictured is the person who should be attributed. You can still spread an idea by posting something like this...
You've still shared the same thought, but this time, there's more honesty in who really said it. The truth is, no one knows. Or maybe it could be attributed to many people who may have said it.
Maybe your plain meme won't get as many "likes" or comments, but it will at least be honest and it won't be stealing someone else's famous image to promote an idea or agenda. As someone who is camera shy and writes, I know I wouldn't want my image used with someone else's words, no matter how profound they are. I'm sure most normal, non-famous people wouldn't.
I'll never understand why some people assume that a famous person won't mind when a stranger thoughtlessly spreads a Facebook meme using their image with someone else's words. Especially when it's common for people with financial means to sue when someone uses their likeness without permission. And especially since many famous people make their living by being paid promoters. No one likes to be ripped off, right?
Anyway... that is my first rant of the day. Another one is forthcoming. Stay tuned.