When Plato and Palin Collide on Twitter

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.

7 Replies to “When Plato and Palin Collide on Twitter”

  1. Palin may lose points for accuracy, but at least she had some exposure to Plato, and that’s better than nothing, you betcha. I’ve read some Plato, as well as the early greek plays (The Clouds, The Birds, The Frogs, Lysistrata and so on), and I have to say that I think a quotation from Aristophanes might better suit better than Plato – and now I’m going to go find one.

    But then let us not judge too much ONLY from quotations. I led off a piece over on the blog ‘Penigma’ relating to Palin with a quotation from Dennis Miller “Elected office holds more perks than Elvis’ nightstand.” I’d hate to have my level of erudition judged by ONLY that quotation….

  2. “You have all the characteristics of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding, and a vulgar manner. ”
    – Aristophanes,
    Knights, 424 B.C.

    Ah, it didn’t take me long to find one, but more time to select from many possible choices. Aristophanes, the David Letterman of the B.C.E. (Not a television network, BCE – before the common era.)

  3. Oh how we twitter in our hankies and guffaw in our beards…tut tut….a politician misquoted Plato. How simply gauche.

    Once we’ve had our little fun with this, let’s turn right around and review the assorted stupidities and nonsense that comes…not from hockey moms turned governors….but from academics at some of our most vaunted institutions. Martin Bernal’s terribly sloppy “Black Athena”. Social Text publishing nonsense papers. The innumerable pseudo-medievalists who spout such historically vapid inanities as “people thought the world was flat” and “Native Americans lived in peace with each other and the environment.”

    I’ve read Plato in the original Greek, so no anti-intellectual I. But as long as we’re all being smugly superior, I wonder how many us could hunt and field dress a moose? Run a fishing business?

    Ask yourselves these questions, my friends, because given the wholesale dismantling of the economy by the current intellectually superior being in the Oval Office, I’m betting that knowledge will come *slightly* more in handy than, say, the latest stultiloquies of your average post-structuralist professor.


  4. It’s Palin’s hypocrisy that is the issue- and now, her sad attempt to seem to be an intellectual, when she can not name one paper she has read.

    A person so mentally incurious as to not know what she does not know.

    That is the problem.

    Her survival skills are wonderful — but they do not qualify her for higher office.

    And I do believe her “relevance” is supposedly her relationship to being a candidate for higher office, hence the desire to focus on those qualities and attributes.

    Had Palin read Plato, I highly doubt she would be displaying the I’m just as smart as you are tendencies of the less informed. Before I am lynched for speaking the truth, may I remind you that being informed is not the same thing as being educated.

    We all make choices. I do not accept the suggestion that Palin is not responsible for her choices and that I have to give her a pass at pretension gone wrong since she can kill an animal and prepare it for eating.

    Ironically, this argument made for her as a governmental leader goes against everything Plato ever wrote about.

    Go figure.

  5. I’m the woman who provided the Aristophanes quote, so no anti-intellectual I.

    I can field dress/clean/dismember quadruped, fish or fowl, and cook it too, indoors or outdoors. Put up a tent in the middle of the nigth during a storm. AND identify the pertinent parasites that might infest the wildlife, by species, gender, and stage of life cycle (always an important consideration when contemplating eating wildlife). And I can properly identify all of the parts of an animal I’ve dissassembled, because unlike Palin who is anti-science, I’m fairly knowledgable about comparative anatomy.

    I’m also pretty handy at identifying poisonous or otherwise dangerous flora and fauna. And when I took the requisite class required for a hand gun license, combat pistol not the easier fire arm safety, I passed top of my class – and I was the only woman in it. So what?

    Palin’s credentials as a mighty hunter and outdoorswoman have been made much of, when all they qualify her for is a hunting and/or fishing license. NOT the oval office. And do you really want to compare as equivalent running a dinky fishing operation to the complexity of the job demands of the oval office? That reasoning smells like…. a stinky fishing operation.

  6. Dinky fishing operation? How about a dinky Constitutional Law degree?You’d think that someone who had such a degree would understand and respect centuries of contract law and secured vs. unsecured bondholders in the GM bankruptcy. No such thing. The law be damned….we have to pay back the unions. So a fat lot of good all his education did him.

    Give me a darn fisherman at this point. Fishermen understand a couple of things that the Professor doesn’t. First, you have to actually produce something to make money. Second, if you take away the incentive from people make money, you will not only cripple business in this country, but also overstep the proper bounds of the Constitution of the United States which gives no authority to the chief executive to be running private industries.


  7. I’m not saying at all that hunting qualifies one for the Presidency–and one should not imply that that’s the only qualification she has.

    And when did she proclaim herself to be an intellectual? I’ve never picked that up once. She pulled a quote off an aggregator site which was mistaken. Sloppy yes. Hypocritical, no–at least not anymore than Kennedy’s proudly announcing to the Germans that he was a jelly doughnut.

    The most pressing issue right now is a political class which is literally stealing our money and the money of our children and bankrupting us to increase their own political power. Despite all the Hope and Change talk, what started under Bush has continued apace and even redoubled since Obama took over. In this kind of climate, you don’t think that a salt-of-the-earth kind of person, a person with not much political education but, perhaps, loads of common sense would be welcomed by the American electorate? I happen to think–if Palin is that person–she would. But we’ll see. After 4 years of an economy under the “brilliant” economic minds we supposedly have in place now, I’m willing to bet that people will be very receptive to that kind of person.


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