Maya Angelou Memorial Stamp Features Quote from Different Author and Other Famous Lines We All Get Wrong

Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Internet, Media & Arts with 0 Comments
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CLN Editor Notes:

(1) This article only scratches the surface on misattributed quotes.  Here’s just one list of misquotations.  The official website for Mother Theresa has an entire page dedicated to Quotes falsely attributed to Mother Teresa.  When I was researching the article, Dire Warnings From Past U.S. Presidents and Other High-Profile Leaders About an “Invisible Government” That Runs the U.S. With “No Allegiance To the People”, I came across dozens of alleged quotes by famous political leaders such as Jefferson, Lincoln, & JFK that were either misattributed or just plain fake.

(2) In regards to honoring Maya Angelou, I included a sweet video at the bottom of this post titled “My Journey with Maya Angelou: Tavis Smiley Remembers Legendary Poet & Civil Rights Activist.”


By Stephen Moss | The Guardian

A stamp issued this week by the US Postal Service commemorating the American writer Maya Angelou attributes a famous quote to her that she didn’t actually say. But she’s not the first person to have words put in their mouth

A stamp issued this week by the US Postal Service commemorating the American writer Maya Angelou attributes a famous quote to her that she didn’t actually say. But she’s not the first person to have words put in their mouth

Never apologize, never explain. That more or less sums up the US postal service’s attitude this week. On Tuesday it issued a stamp in honor of the American author Maya Angelou, who died last year. Next to a photograph of Angelou is a famous quote from her: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” How sweet. There’s just one problem: she never said it.

The quote actually comes from a poem published in 1967 by children’s writer Joan Walsh Anglund. The fault may lie with President Obama, who attributed the line to Angelou in an address last year. The US postal service initially defended using the quote, arguing it was associated with Angelou. Now it is reluctantly backtracking. But there is no suggestion the stamp will be withdrawn, possibly because it is part of a series called “Forever” memorialising great people and events.

The internet is probably the culprit. Some minor postal official will have seen the president’s attribution, echoed on myriad websites, and taken that as gospel. Quotes, like facts, are now more slippery than ever. Take the aphorism with which I began: “Never apologise, never explain.” Some online sources attribute this to the 1949 John Wayne film She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, but its antecedents are murky. Possible originators include Disraeli (“Never complain and never explain”), Benjamin Jowett (“Never regret, never explain, never apologise”), and Admiral Jacky Fisher (“Never contradict. Never explain. Never apologise”). The net offers plausible support for all three, along with Churchill and Wallis Simpson.

There are numerous other examples of misattributions. The quote that defines Voltaire – “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – was invented by his biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall. Poor Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake”; that was made up by Rousseau. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” is usually attributed to Burke, but there is no evidence he ever said it. John Stuart Mill said something similar, but I prefer the commenter on one website who mischievously attributes it to Marilyn Monroe. He says she also coined: “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” I like to think he may be mocking the anarchy of the online world.

Read the rest of the article…

Source: democracynow
In his new book “My Journey with Maya,” the television and radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley pays tribute to the late Maya Angelou, chronicling their nearly three decade-long, multi-generational friendship. Smiley was 21 and Angelou was 58 when they first met in the mid-1980s. The book brims with the renowned poet’s words and Smiley’s remembrances of how she guided him through challenging moments in his life. The book’s release coincides with the U.S. Postal Service’s unveiling of a new limited edition forever stamp in Angelou’s honor.

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