Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brain Droppings vol 3

The votes are in!  This weekly installment will be henceforth known as brain droppings. Yuk :)
I'll have to figure out how to illustrate that.  Correction... I'll have to figure out how to tastefully illustrate that.

Today's theme is misquotations.

Sometimes quotes get deliberately made up to pad or destroy someone's reputation.
George Washington never said,  
"I cannot tell a lie.  It was I who chopped down the cherry tree."  
This story was made up by a biographer to improve good ol' Georgie's image.

As an example of the latter, Marie Antoinette did NOT say,
"If they have no bread, let them eat cake."
The original quote was said by another princess ten years before Marie Antoinette was even born.  But anti-royalists attached this phrase to her, rabble rousing the public and quite possibly hastening her execution.

Sometimes quotes are misattributed such as,
"Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you'll end up working for one."  
NOT uttered by Bill Gates, as commonly believed, but by Charles J Sykes. 

Sometimes the phrase is misinterpreted, mistranslated or corrupted by the sands of time... Or poor recording devices.
You know the 
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" 
When I was a wee lass, I heard that Neil Armstrong's moment of glory actually WAS supposed to make sense but the critical 'a' was lost in static, rendering the sensible phrase "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" a victim of technology.

Buuut here's the plot twist... Mr. Armstrong recently admitted that he's less than eloquent and while he did intend an 'a' there, in all likelihood he just misspoke. Wah wahhhh.  So I guess that makes the above a poor example of a misinterpreted phrase but you get the picture.

And sometimes they're just plain wrong. 
"Elementary, my dear Watson" 
appears in exactly NONE of the 60 Holmes novels.

Ta da! Do you feel smarter?  
Know of any other misquoted phrases?  
Enlighten me in the comments below!

(P.S. Beth's comment made me realize this wasn't necessarily obvious: All drawings are by me)


  1. I have to know -- are you drawing all these illustrations or finding them somewhere? (If you're drawing them, I'm very impressed!)

    Last week I assumed you found a really cool coloring book, but some of these pictures are a little too dead on...

  2. I loved this! This most likely happens on a daily basis, sad huh?

    Feel free to join in "What The Hell Wednesday" again tomorrow!

  3. Oh yes! I did draw them all. I amended the post with that little fact. Thanks for the compliment!

  4. Being a bit of a Sherlock geek, I already knew the Sherlock quote was incorrect... and I've definitely mentioned it a few times to people, who I'm sure didn't care...

    You know what? I've never thought about Neil Armstrong's quote -not- making sense. I think I just always put an 'a' in there... but that's a fun story!

  5. I heard that Marie Antoinette DID say let them eat cake, but it was a different context. That she wasn't saying it out of ignorance, but of wanting the best for her people. She wanted them to go from starving, to being able to eat cake.
    Guess you had to be there? :P


  6. You little artist! Love this! The nerd is spot on:-) xoxo

  7. Love the illustrations and super impressed with your skills...not that I didn't already think you were super talented. :)

  8. Love the drawings! You are one talented gal. I never knew about the Holmes quote. Interesting. Thank you for enlightening me.

  9. Love the drawings.
    I had heard most of these "mis-quotes" before. It is amazing how much of history gets distorted.

    Check this for some false history being put right courtesy of BBC's "horrible histories"


  10. i can't wait to nerd out on the next person to use on of these quotes on me. "NUH-UH!" also, you are so talented! love your graphic little illustrations. more of this, please.

    also, have you watched funny or dies drunk histories? i think you would enjoy them.

  11. er, 'funny or die's. or something. how to make a title possessive? you're the neuroscientist in training, i assume you know these things.

  12. Char - That's cuz you're smarter than the average bear (that reply goes to BOTH of your comments).

    Eva - I heard that too, along with a few other theories as well. The one I posted is the one that seemed most reputable to me at this point but it's the age of the internet, so who knows?

    Bon Bon - Moi?! This coming from the doodle-queen herself? I'm oh-so-flattered.

    E - Awwww, you're making me blush. Stop it! No, don't.

    Jessica - You're absolutely welcome! I consider my job done when I read a comment like yours. Thank you!

    Vicky - haha! That was GREAT! Thanks for the link!

    Audrey - I'm on a Drunk History spree now! Those are hilarious!


How did you know I LOOOVE comments?!