On a medical misattribution [quotation research]

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 27 12:55:35 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 7:19 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> This unsubstantiated quotation has unfairly diminished the legacy of
> Dr. William H. Stewart. Hence, I offer the following mutation.
> It's time to close the book on this infectious misquotation, declare
> that the war against false attributions has hardly begun, and shift
> national resources to such chronic problems as incomplete databases,
> poor OCR, and sloppy meta-data.

Bravo, and thanks, Garson.

One last note.  A few years ago I traded emails with a journalist who
had been involved early on in the transmission of this misattribution.
 In the end she offered that even if the former Surgeon General had
not said, in effect, that because of mid-century advances in medicine
we could stop worrying about the specter of infectious disease, this
view was common among U.S. physicians ca. 1970, which for her was the
larger point.  Therefore, William H. Stewart, who had a pretty stellar
record as Surgeon General, serves as a convenient scapegoat.

-- Bonnie

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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