Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Frustrations: Fake Quotes

Really, what's the deal with these?  Why do people just randomly attribute so many things to Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein?

I remember in the days of AOL/AIM profiles a huge thing was including "quotes".  In high school, we would seek out quotes and write them everywhere - on binders, in away messages eventually in our yearbook (and, by the way, at least 5 girls in my graduating class quoted Carrie fucking Bradshaw).

I remember one a girl I didn't like very much had in her profile that I stalked obsessively precisely because I didn't like her very much.

Wise words, Marilyn.  Who would have thought they talked about "drama" in her day?  I guess she were really ahead of your time.  This quote is so poignant for the about-to-go-to-college generation that it's incredible that Marilyn was able to word it so well.

Except she didn't.  She clearly didn't and it's insane to me that this is so widely attributed to her.  '"Live it up, drink it down"?  Please.  Another one of her popular ones:

Come on, they didn't even have size zeros back then!  Marilyn would have never felt this way because there wasn't pressure on her to be thinner than she was.  And yet, we take this and attribute it to her as if that somehow gives it greater meaning, more than it would have just being superimposed over a picture of a sunset or a beach or whatever else.

Audrey Hepburn is another popular target for this kind of nonsense.  I'm pretty sure this one was in my yearbook (but I won't check because lord knows I never want to look at that ever again):

Audrey Hepburn, the proponent of laughter as the best "calorie burner", as though people talked about calorie burners all the time when she was alive and obsessed over weight the way we do now.  What does believing in pink even mean?  Really, I don't get it.  I believe that pink exists as well.  In fact, I'm sure it does.

But what about the quotes not about girls just having fun?  Surely Marilyn and Audrey can't be the only ones this happens to!

And they're not.  Albert Einstein, intelligent as he was, has probably said only about half of the things attributed to him on Pinterest.  He was smart, but let's not forget that he was not a philosopher, so why is he being constantly quoted about finding happiness in life and things like that?  Here's his famous quote: e=mc^2.  It's definitely not some pseudo-scientific quote about the key to finding happiness or finding God or whatever else.

Wise words, Alby.  Too bad you probably never said them.  Maybe they'll help some kids somewhere figure out how to be a little more independent, though.

My favorite that I encountered while looking for some obviously fake quotes was this by Jackie Chan, talking about an issue that really has only been recently talked about widely in the media:

Quite contrary to this quote, Jackie Chan has admitted to being a bully in the past! (And this I'm sure is a real quote):

I tried finding a source for the above quote but all I could find was references to the quote itself on sites about cyber bullying; it appears there is no original source for this.   Frankly, as a bullied kid, it's offensive that people just make this shit up and ultimately make other kids feel bad for not being able to stand up for themselves the way he did.  But why Jackie Chan?  Marilyn and Audrey are the women we dream of becoming as girls, Albert Einstein is probably the most widely known genius and is generally considered to be one of the smartest people to have lived, and Jackie Chan... well he's Jackie Chan.  He made some movies I guess.  He does his own stunts, that's cool.

Can we please stop doing this?  It's stupid and it's weird and it just is disturbing how easy it is to make something up and attribute it to someone else and get everyone in the world to believe you (not to mention get a thousand repins on it).  It's also disturbing how few people fact check these things before using them as inspiration for their lives.  But really, the major issue I have with it, is it perpetuates the value that society puts on fame and celebrity; these quotes are meaningful because of who they come from, and if they didn't come from these people then they're just not worth reading.  

We are all worth listening to, famous or not, so there's no need to hide behind some fake attribution hoping that this will make someone listen to your words.  It is only when we stop thinking that fame dictates a person's worth that we can finally start thinking for ourselves and listening to our own words (- Megan McClen).

And so, I leave you with the quote in here that is most likely to be real, not to mention my personal favorite.


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