There are very few concepts that are culturally universal.
The handshake goes unused in much of Asia. Flipping a Brit the middle finger is one digit short of a real insult. And yes, there are still corners of the globe where using the term ‘Bieber Fever’ will have locals reaching for antibiotics.
But everyone knows what an Einstein is.
Ever since the German born physicist, Albert Einstein burst onto the world of academia in 1905 his name has become synonymous with intelligence. He is the lodestone by which all other euphemisms for intelligence are measured. An ‘Einstein’ is a genius without peer. An Einstein is a rare and gifted individual who occupies planes of thought cut off to the rest of us.
Not that any of that has much to do with the man himself. Albert Einstein was as flawed and complicated a man as anyone else. A lover of Mozart who self-described himself as a deeply religious nonbeliever, his political views often angered those who preferred him to stick to matters of science. As a committed Zionist and defender of civil rights, he often found himself at loggerheads with conservative factions determined to hold society to values that mirrored their formative years.
It all sounds a bit familiar really.
It seems highly unlikely that he would have had much truck with the Trump administration.
A Bignose Who Nose
As British singer songwriter Morrissey once wrote:
“If you must write prose and poems The words you use should be your own Don’t plagiarize or take on loans.”
That’s because he went on to warn:
“There’s always someone, somewhere with a big nose, who knows; who trips you up and laughs when you fall.”
It’s good advice.
Of course, if there’s one thing worse than passing pearls of wisdom off as a homegrown thought, it’s failing to understand the meaning of those you do design to attribute.
Einstein once said that ‘God doesn’t play dice.’ It’s one of those quotes that people like to use to validate their position. Like voracious meat eaters pointing out that Hitler was a vegetarian (he wasn’t), or that the Founding Fathers were devout Christians (they weren’t), the idea that a man of such intellect believed in god seems to strike a chord.
Such people are missing the point of course.
Hitler’s dietary habits have nothing to do with anything. Had he had an inordinate fondness for cheese fromageophiles the world over should not be expected to hang their heads in shame every time they swallow a piece of brie.
And nor should a quote be used without full understanding of the intent behind it. Einstein was using the word ‘God,’ as a metaphor. Indeed as physicist Vasant Natarajan noted:
“Einstein, of course, believed in mathematical laws of nature, so his idea of a God was at best someone who formulated the laws and then left the universe alone to evolve according to these laws.”
Einstein even took the time to clarify the point himself writing in 1954 that:
“I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
Still, it’s easy to see why some people might have misinterpreted such a statement. Perhaps the fault lies with Einstein himself. He should have after all — at the very least — realized that the Christian right would leap at the chance to associate their belief systems with a person of genuine wit and integrity.
God only knows such opportunities are conspicuous by their absence.
Still, at least, he definitely said such a thing. It would take a special kind of idiot to misquote a man of Einstein’s genius. Who in their right mind would tweet that Einstein proved that ‘E=MC Hammer’ or that the letter M in that equation stood for muffins, marzipan or macrocephalousness?
Who would be stupid enough to misquote Einstein?
Cue subheading about a member of the Trump family.
Ivanka The Not So Terribly Bright
Back in 2013, Ivanka sent out the following tweet.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 23, 2013
It might have occurred to some that Albert Einstein — a world-renowned scientist and global euphemism for somebody being an all round smarty pants — might have taken issue with such a statement. The idea that facts should be changed to match an existing theory is the exact opposite of what science is all about.
You might be wondering why nobody ever told you that Einstein — far from being a paragon of human ingenuity– was, in fact, a rabidly anti science thug who placed his own ego before the pursuit of truth.
And you’d be right to think that. Because only a special kind of idiot would believe that Einstein ever said such a thing.
— Albert Einstein (@AlbertEinstein) July 24, 2017
Mirror Mirror Off The Wall
It kind of fits though, really.
If Einstein was so smart — the Trump’s must have thought –then he must be like us.
He too must subscribe to the notion that reality and truth are in flux. He too must believe that it’s possible to both support LGBTQ rights and stomp all over them at the same time. That you can make your clothes in China whilst telling everyone else that they should make theirs in America. That news that fails to flatter is fake, that past comments can be deleted and simply denied.
Didn’t win the popular vote? Say you did! Don’t like that your approval rating is only 35 percent? Flip the numbers, 53 percent isn’t so bad!
For them, truth exists in a state of permanent flux.
It’s the world the Trumps live in. The world of Schrödinger’s Trump.
Thank god that there are those of us who are able to see through such bullshit.
What in the actual hell are you talking about?!? No scientist EVER said this.
— Grace on Grey St (@GraceonGreySt) July 23, 2017
This was obviously passed on to you by Kelly Ann
He actually said
If a theory disagreed with the fact, you had to throw out the theory
— webfashioner (@webfashioner) July 23, 2017
"Just make up quotes and attribute them to me. The people who support you won't care that you're lying." – Albert Einstein
— The Singing Owl (@OwlWithAGuitar) July 23, 2017
The exact opposite of what science is about. And Einstein said this, did he? Einstein. You know, the scientist Einstein? You absolute muppet pic.twitter.com/WUg2ZAk99Q
— Grownmangrumbles (@Grownmangrumble) July 27, 2017