In this week’s Globe Magazine piece “Why Kids Today are So Rude…” by Nicole Graev Lipson, we find a pretty piquant line uncritically attributed to Socrates.
Surprise! This does not actually come from ancient Greece.
The earliest attestation of this quotation I could find with a google search appears in The Massachusetts Teacher, volume 3 (1923), but quote investigator traces this back to 1907.
After this, it begins to appear widely in educational writing after the 1950s. The phrase certainly has words that occur in English translations of Plato with some frequency (“tyrant, Luxury” etc.). But essential ideas of disrespect in the passage such as crossing legs or not rising to greet parents are wholly modern.
I searched a bit through Plato and there is a chance that something like this is somewhere, but for now this seems to be total nonsense. Bartleby got to that point, but buried the lede.
It is disappointing that there was no fact-checking on this one. The Boston area just might host the greatest density of Classicists in the United States. How hard would it be to reach out to someone about Classical quotations?
h/t to the peerless .@professormortis for pointing this out