Drunk on the Idea That Love, Only Love, Could Heal Our Brokenness

F. Scott Fitzgerald? Christopher Poindexter? Anonymous?

embrace07Dear Quote Investigator: Goodreads is one of the most popular community websites for readers, and it includes a massive collection of quotations. Since anyone can share a quotation it is unsurprising that some of them are misattributed or inaccurately stated. Recently, I came across the following words which were credited to the classic novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

And in the end, we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.

This statement has been propagated through social media channels such as Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook with an ascription to Fitzgerald, but I know it definitely is not in the “The Great Gatsby”. This is confusing. What do you think?

The Quote Investigator: The poet Christopher Poindexter crafted this expression. The earliest evidence located by QI was a tweet dated May 14, 2013 from the account @healthesebones. This account is currently inactive, but in the past it was used by Poindexter. 1

The tweet referred to the fourth short poem in a cycle called “The blooming of madness” written by the artist, and the link within the tweet pointed to an image shared by Poindexter via his Instagram account that displayed the verse as a typewritten palimpsest fragment using black and red ink. See here. 2

When QI used twitter to ask Poindexter about the quotation he replied emphatically via his current account @ChristopherPoin: 3

. . . this is my quote. It has been misquoted everywhere on the Internet. You will not find it in Fitzgerald’s books.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

The tweet from ‏@healthesebones on May 14, 2013 had a time stamp of 6:31 AM. Several hours later at 4:17 PM a twitter account called @My_postsecret with the handle “We are the Broken” tweeted the same message with a slightly different punctuation and no attribution. The message was retweeted seven times: 4

We are the Broken @My_postsecret
And in the end, we were all just humans. Drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.

About a week later on May 22, 2013 an account called @Nouphashim with the handle “Nouf” tweeted an instance and properly credited Poindexter: 5

Nouf @Nouphashim
“& in the end we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” Christopher Poindexter

About a month later on July 12, 2013 an account called ‏@SirJayGatsby with the handle “Jay Gatsby” tweeted an instance without attribution. This tweet was extraordinarily popular; it was retweeted 666 times and favorited 489 times (as of May 28, 2015). 6

The main character in Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” was named Jay Gatsby, and QI hypothesizes that the tweet above either initiated or dramatically amplified the confusion concerning the ascription.

In conclusion, based on current evidence this quotation/poem should be credited to Christopher Poindexter. The linkage to F. Scott Fitzgerald was spurious. The artist Poindexter has created a book called “Naked Human”. He also sells his poems on Etsy. Each work is hand-typed on hemp paper (or old book pages, etcetera) in black ink and signed.

Image Notes: Embracing couple on beach from maumau97 on Pixabay. The image has been cropped and resized.

(Great thanks to Skylar whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Skylar identified the two possibilities: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Christopher Poindexter.)

Notes:

  1. Tweet, From: Chris Poindexter ‏@healthesebones, Time: 6:31 AM, Date: May 14, 2013, Text: ” The blooming of madness” poem #4 #poetry #poem #art #artist #inspire #inspiration #typewriter… http://instagram.com/p/ZSYU6aTNe-/ (Accessed on twitter.com on May 28, 2015) link
  2. Instagram Photo Sharing Web Service, Account: christopherpoindexter, Date: “25 months ago” (Approximate date presented by Instagram on May 28, 2015), Description: “The blooming of madness” poem #4 #poetry #poem #art #artist #inspire #inspiration #typewriter #vintage #words #write (Accessed on instagram.com on May 28, 2015) link
  3. Tweet, From: Christopher @ChristopherPoin, Time: 3:18 PM, Date: May 27, 2015, Text: @QuoteResearch this is my quote. It has been misquoted everywhere on the Internet. You will not find it in Fitzgerald’s books. (Accessed on twitter.com on May 28, 2015) link
  4. Tweet, From: We are the Broken @My_postsecret, Time: 4:17 PM, Date: May 14, 2013, Text: And in the end, we were all just humans. Drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness. (Accessed on twitter.com on May 28, 2015) link
  5. Tweet, From: Nouf @Nouphashim, Time: 4:34 AM, Date: May 22, 2013, Text: “& in the end we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” Christopher Poindexter (Accessed on twitter.com on May 28, 2015) link
  6. Tweet, From: Jay Gatsby ‏@SirJayGatsby, Time: 5:15 PM, Date: July 12, 2013, Text: And in the end, we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness. (Accessed on twitter.com on May 28, 2015) link