This one may be traced to the 1972 soul song “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right.”
The variable seems to vary freely between “loving X” and “X”. When it’s “loving”, some variants of X include:
“Loving X” in this case doesn’t seem to be as morally suspect as the affair referred to in the original song. “Loving frito pie” may be wrong to someone on a diet, but there’s nothing inherently bad about it.
Lacking “loving”, X includes these:
lusting after naked Daniel Radcliffe
hating these pictures
wanting those glasses
fondling Manny’s package
A gerund-form verb to take the place of the original “loving” is most common, but not obligatory–note the lack of gerund in “public twister” and “homicidal rage”.
X may be something that is considered morally wrong (“lusting after naked Daniel Radcliffe”), morally ambiguous, or wrong on some other level (“using ‘irregardless'”). There does seem to be a general theme of illicit desire here, reflecting the affair alluded to in the original song.
On the other hand, usage may just be intended to be surreal, as in “If selling babies for profit is wrong, I don’t want to be right.“
This comment may be really out of place since I stumbled onto your article thru a google news alert, but yeah … if lusting after Daniel Radcliffe (naked or otherwise) is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!
Arseno Hall used that one in Coming to America: “If lovin’ the lawd is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”
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