Ever since her resignation announcement, soon to be former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been waxing philosophically on her Twitter account, where today’s attempt at depth was a quote that she attributed to Plato, only it was never uttered by Plato, but instead comes from 1670 gentleman’s etiquette guide. When Palin and Plato collide, the results aren’t pretty.
Palin tweeted, “So AK kids: take time to take your parents fishing: “You learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation” -Plato” According to Think Progress, this quote is often wrongly attributed to Plato. It really belongs to Richard Lindgard.
The correct quote is, “Take heed of playing often or deep at Dice and Games of Chance, for that is more chargeable than the seven deadly sins; Yet you may allow your self a certain easie Sum to spend at Play, to gratifie Friends, and pass over the Winter Nights, and that will make you indifferent for the Event. If you would read a man’s Disposition, see him Game, you will then learn more of him in one hour, than in seven Years Conversation, and little Wagers will try him as soon as great Stakes, for then he is off his Guard.”
As you can see, the Palinization of the quote is not quite the same thing. The quote itself does not mean that you get to know people better at play, but that you learn more about a person’s character while gambling with them, then you would in seven years of conversation. It is a terrible thing when intellectual light weights dabble in philosophy.
Anyone who seriously studies philosophy will tell you that Plato isn’t exactly light coffee table reading, but Palin seems to have gotten her dose of the great western philosopher via the pop culture bastardization of his works in various self help books. It would appear that Palin is using her Twitter page to display her depth and intellectual side. If this is her mission, then she is crashing and burning.