The newsfeed has come alive. Everyone wants to express joy at the fact they know who first voiced which phrase.
It reminds one of hipsterism overcome by the sense of its own elitism whenever it sees the word “coffee” used as if it were a neuter noun. In all this noise, what’s curious is not the fact that Poklonskaya is immersed in literature bur rather the joy with which everyone pounced on her.
95% of the people who are having fun at her expense would fail to identify authors of 9 out of 10 literary passages used in standard school curricula. As did the news anchor in the case of a Lermontov phrase, but for some reason nobody is writing about that. But that’s a more serious case–a journalist, after all, ought to know such things due to the nature of the profession and associated education. And she corrected herself only after someone told her the correct answer.
My newsfeed now spits out hourly fake quotes and banalities attributed to the ancients. The luckless Confucius, Lao, and Gautama are mentioned alongside Ranevskaya and Einstein, who in turn are watered down by Coco Chanel and Steve Jobs who would most definitely be amazed by their aphorisms, were they alive.
Statistics show that people use Google mainly to check on a word’s orthography. Everyone is dropping phrases in the comments sections without even realizing how often wikipedia, from where there phrases are taken, is wrong.
Majority of people who pride themselves on being educated couldn’t answer basic questions on 7th grade-level geography or biology. It’s striking how all the authorities on Camus and Deleuse don’t know simple laws of physics which would be just as useful to know as the 9th grade literature curriculum which includes Griboyedov. Some people who actively fight against the misuse of “it’s/its” don’t know why there is summer during winter in the southern hemisphere, or winter during summer–oh yes, I’ve met people like that.
It’s also difficult to understand the arguments of those who are defending Poklonskaya. It’s sad when an official at such level doesn’t understand that when she says something in public, she is responsible for her words. Not knowing the quote or the author is not the main problem. And Chatskiy or Suvorov be damned. The problem is that people (unfortunately, famous and educated ones) often use words whose meaning they don’t fully understand. The constant violations of logic, the jumps from the particular to the general, the violations of syllogisms, the fuzziness of concepts is a widespread problem of the public sphere in the entire world. And that’s more serious than knowledge or ignorance of quotations and their authors.