So a few years ago I got a copy of Bartlett’s, but I kind of hate it now. Quotes just bug me. It’s not so much that people don’t even try to be articulate anymore. A lot of people fall back on these ready-made phrases rather than try to express something themselves.
What really bothers is that they can’t even use them RIGHT.
People misquote, or falsely attribute, or claim it’s a common saying with an “anonymous” author even when the author is known because they’re too lazy or don’t care enough to double-check.
People take quotes like they’re some almighty wisdom, usually just because someone famous said it. “Oh so-and-so dead famous person said it, so it MUST be right because celebrity words are law.” This is especially annoying when they occur during logical arguments. People believe they’ve won a debate because they are able to recite.
And the real pain in my ass: people who misunderstand the quote. In case you don’t know, Oscar Wilde is my favorite author. If you know his work, you know it’s full of quotable goodness and is indeed VERY often quoted. It is extraordinarily frustrating because most of these quotes are taken out of context, applied to something completely different, or filled with unskilled interpretation.
People take quotes and try to make them say something that supports THEIR idea.
This is so so so the biggest problem with biblical quotes as well. I’m not saying quoting the bible is wrong, but wrongly quoting is wrong. See, bad quoting results in organizations like Westboro Baptist Church, who genuinely believe they’re right in what they do because they think the bible says so. Now most misquoting is actually harmless compared to that, but I just hate to see people bend the words of others. People can use someone’s words as fuel for something that the author may not have supported. Which is simply wrong.
And really, I have to ask, why do people feel the need to quote so much anyway? The worst place to see quotes is facebook, and that’s where I really have to ask this question. Most of the time, the answer is simple. People are trying to look intelligent, educated, well-versed. But last I checked, truly intelligent people express new concepts instead of repeating old ones.