A "paracite" is a misquotation that lives on, becoming more popular than the original quotation.
In addition it tends to have the following (Memetic) features:
1. It must be plausible--in that it fits with larger perception of a philosopher's/thinker's views/style, etc.
2. A. It allows a philosopher's views/style/position to be slotted into a (pre-existing) categories--so that B. s/he can be domesticated (say, in graduate education, or in boundary-policing).
3. The Paracite must be memorable. 1-3 try to capture how (a) paracite(s) can function in what I call "Philosophic prophecy" (or anti-Philosophic prophecy), in which magisterial authority is contested or promoted. So, I am enlisting Protevi's coinage for my own ends here.
According to the dictionary "The dismal Science" stands for "the science of economics: a humorous usage." If there is an attribution, it is often correctly attributed to Carlyle. More informed discussion often uses the paracite to characterize either that economics offers dire or economizing predictions (and in this context Carlyle's phrase is -- correctly (in some sense) -- taken as a criticism of Malthus) or that economists' embrace of utilitarianism has made the subject spiritually/psychologically impoverished (and this, too, captures correctly part of Carlyle's intent).
As David M. Levy and Sandra J. Peart point out, "At the most trivial level, Carlyle's target was not Malthus, but economists such as John Stuart Mill, who argued that it was institutions, not race, that explained why some nations were rich and others poor. Carlyle attacked Mill, not for supporting Malthus's predictions about the dire consequences of population growth, but for supporting the emancipation of slaves. It was this fact—that economics assumed that people were basically all the same, and thus all entitled to liberty—that led Carlyle to label economics "the dismal science."" (for their follow up blogs about this, see here, here, here, here, and here). Mill was not merely an "economist," of course (I am not going to let economists claim exclusive property rights to the fruits of Mill's labor; even so I am not going to pick a public fight with Levy and Peart, who have been benefactors in countless ways, over naming rights)!
Exeter Hall is a reference to the evangelical, anti-slavery movement. We tend to forget that 19th century progressive thought was a Christian-Utilitarian coalition. Now, Levy and Peart are mostly interested in promoting interest in what they (and I) call analytic egalitarianism and the tendency of of social scientists to assume that experts are better than ordinary folk [I love linking to this book because how often will I be in same volume as Rawls???] (and coincidentally in lifting economists' spirits about their past). But the episode is significant for the history of philosophy in a wider sense. When Nietzsche adopted the phrase, "gay science" he did so familiar with and against the background of Carlyle's racially tinged opposition between it and the dismal sciences. Nietzsche also clearly knew the ways in which Carlyle was using eugenic ideas in his critique of the utilitarian-evangelicals. So, when Nietzsche explored and promoted a 'gay science' he knew he ran the risk of being understood as a racist. (It is, of course, no surprise that Nietzsche would reject analytic egalitarianism; all of his projects seems to be fueled with desire to promote valuable distinction of ranks.)
I don't keep up with the Nietzsche literature. (I know that the Carlyle/Nietzsche link has been mined for their treatment of the heroic/overman.) But I know there has been a tendency to read the so-called "mature" Nietzsche as a scientific naturalist (cf. Leiter). It is certainly true that in his so-called "mature works," Nietszche is quite critical of Carlyle (cf. relative treatment of Emerson and Carlyle in Twilight; and the back-handed compliment to Carlyle's self-knowledge of his lack of philosophical spirit in Beyond Good and Evil) and forcefully distances himself from Carlyle's hero-worship in Ecce Homo. But even in his mature works, he continues to embrace a gay science (and the implied opposition with a more dismal science).
Now there is no doubt that Nietzsche is a critic of a certain kind of vulgar racism. But there are nagging doubts. In particular (and this is how this blog entry is about the shared history of economics and philosophy), in Beyond Good and Evil (293), Nietzsche happily attacks the "preachers of sympathy" with suffering and continues to use the gay science as an "amulet" against it. Of course, the target here is Mill and his ilk (note in BGE 293 Nietzsche's reference to the combination of religion and philosophy, and the emphasis on "unmanliness"--because of Mill's feminism, he was often caricatured as a woman). For, as Peart and Levy have emphasized, Mill promoted sympathy in the controversy with Carlyle, and sympathy's disappearance from economics has much to do with the subsequent, late 19th century embrace of eugenic ideas within economics. Nietzsche's so-called naturalism, if that is what one wishes to call it, has roots that sit uncomfortably with the naturalism, ahum, worth having.