Friday, May 22, 2015

The Dubious Goebbels Quotation on Academic Sites

Although there are tens of thousands of citations of the dubious quotation on the web, there are far fewer on academic sites (.edu).  Still, there are some.

Professor Chris H. Lewis at the University of Colorado teaches a course titled “America, the Environment, & the Global Economy.”  Among other things it promotes critical thinking, for which he gives twelve characteristics, one of which is “use credible sources.”   He cites the fake Goebbels translation.  He provides a source for his previous quotation from Hitler. He doesn’t source the Goebbels quotation.  He likes Colbert’s concept of “truthiness.” In a way, his citation is an example of “truthiness.”  People’s “gut feeling” is that it is something that Goebbels would say, so obvious that examining its accuracy is unnecessary.

A second is in a 2004 article by Peter McLaren and Gregory Martin at UCLA titled “The Legend of the Bush Gang: Imperialism, War, and Propaganda.”  It has the Goebbels quotation at the beginning of the article, with no source provided.   The article begins by noting that “fascism and war” have become the United States’s preferred methods to starve off economic collapse and relieve “the agonizing tension of its underlying contradictions.” Since in their view the United States is following fascist policies, it only makes sense to cite a leading fascist to support their point.

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