MLK And Mark Twain Quotes Spreading Online Are Fake

After the news of Osama bin Laden's death, reactions were split - there was the USA, USA, greek row kegstand contingent, and then those who saw the historical event as something more solemn and less bacchanalian.

Those in the latter camp flocked to a quote discouraging the celebration of death, allegedly by Dr Martin Luther King:

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

There've been various permutations flying around tweets and status updates, but they all have one thing in common - they're made up. MLK never said that, The Atlantic's found, after much searching. It's a nice sentiment, but, no, not one by Dr King.

Another falsified quote bouncing around the post-bin Laden web is a nice pithy one by Mark Twain: "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Twain, you're so sharp! Except this was never said or written by Mark Twain, but rather civil liberties champion Clarence Darrows. Whoops.

Just another strange instance of internet culture ex nihilo - up from the ether, and now part of the moment's mythos. [The Atlantic and BuzzFeed]

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