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They Didn't Say That, Either!
Can you name the people these quotes are often incorrectly attributed to?
Updated Mar 20, 2011
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They Didn't Say That!
'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!'
Farragut did say something like this at the Battle of Mobile Bay, but it was most likely just 'Damn the torpedoes.' 'Full speed ahead' was added much later.
'Dreams are the royal road to consciousness.'
The actual quote was 'The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.'
'The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.'
Although there's a lot of controversy about who originally said it, the earliest source is from Daniel Defoe.
'Anything that can go wrong, will.'
Something clearly went wrong with this; it's actually Sod's Law. Murphy's Law states that if something can be done more than one way, someone will eventually do it.
'Billions and Billions.'
Referring to the number of galaxies. According to Sagan, he couldn't have said it, as it would be far too vague.
'The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.'
No one really knows where this quote comes from.
'If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
This was actually a common phrase five centuries before Newton said it.
'To get rich is glorious.'
This is widely attributed to the Chinese leader, but no one can find any source of him saying it.'
'When I hear the word 'culture', I reach for my gun.'
It certainly does sound Nazi-esque, and it is! But it's from the play Schlageter by Nazi poet Hanns Johst.
'Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.'
This one was pretty close; the actual phrase was 'Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'
'Because it's there.'
This was actually spoken by George Mallory, who also wanted to climb up Mount Everest.
'It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.'
There's no evidence of Mr. Burke saying that.
'I invented the internet.'
He actually said ''During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the internet.'
'I've just had eighteen straight whiskeys in a row – I do believe that is some sort of record.'
Although Mr. Thomas did have drinking problems, the correct quote is acutally 'I see white mice and roses.' Yeah, go figure.
'The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.'
In The Divine Comedy, those who 'neither rebelled against nor were faithful to God' were actually directly inside the gate of Hell, a region neither hot nor cold.
'Go west, young man.'
Well, yes, he did say it, but he actually stole it from John Barsone Lane Soule in the Indiana Express. Greeley was just more famous.
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