Monday, April 20, 2020

Q for Quotes - My favourite things to counter COVID-19 stress

(This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. I am writing this month on activities that keep me refreshed during these depressing days. It's Day 17 today.)

In these times, words of inspiration can be very powerful in combating the negativity and the consequent uncertainty about our future.

I like reading them. At one level, they provide a new perspective to different complex situations and at another level, they reinforce our convictions. I have my favourites, but I don't want to put out a list.

There is no dearth of resources to find them -- from popular websites to social media timelines and forwards.

Therein lies a new problem. We are living in an age of misinformation and disinformation. There are many quotes that are wrongly attributed to famous persons. So much so that when I see a quotation I am a bit circumspect, regardless of how inspirational it is.

SHAKESPEARE

Some very popular quotations are actually paraphrased versions of the original. One of the most well-known is "A rose by any other name smells just as sweet", attributed to Shakespeare. However, the correct words are: "What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet;" from Romeo and Juliet.

MAHATMA GANDHI

Mahatma Gandhi is supposed to have said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Apparently, there is no documentary evidence to substantiate this, and it's widely believed that he never said it.

According to The New York Times, the closest verifiable remark they have from Gandhi is: "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him ...We need not wait to see what others do."

NEIL ARMSTRONG

But the quotation that became a major talking point and set off a sort of major research was the one by Neil Armstrong when he set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

According to Armstrong himself, if the quotation had to make any sense, there should have been an indefinite article before 'man'. It should have been "a man", and he insists that he did say with an 'a'.

To find out the missing 'a', a detailed analysis of the audiotape was launched, and according to Los Angeles Times, even a study into the way people in Ohio said "for" and "for a". Apparently, many speakers have a tendency to merge the two words!

19 comments:

  1. Yeah, I heard about the moon thing. If Armstrong said he said "A man", then I'll believe him. It was a long way for that transmission to go...

    If a quote is good, it shouldn't matter who said it. I like the change quote, but now that I know it's a paraphrase, I'll be more careful with it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. People from Ohio have different accent. Governor John Kasich is Jawn Kasich. Box is baux.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hari OM
    I agree with you about the misquoting - yet, as said above, if the inspiration and the intention reach home, then the words have done their work. You visited me enough now to know I love a good quote! YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Yamini. When the quote is good, it has served the purpose of having a positive influence on us. We have to careful, only when we attribute it.

      Delete
  4. Personally I feel drawn to the quotes for the profound and deep messages they contain and not for the celebrity tags they have .A pithy and wise statement by my domestic help would equally inspire me like those from renowned.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Shakespeare is my favorite too! And very true, words of inspiration work wonders in testing times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jyoti - Some of Shakespeare's quotes are just out of the world!

      Delete
  6. I love quotes too. My real name is mispronounced so many times that I have adopted the Shakespeare quote. though I think it is by any other name not word. (Suzy is a nickname)

    Suzy Someday Somewhere Letter Q

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for making these quotes right, I didn't knew they where not exact.
    Q is for Quilting Longarm

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very interesting indeed. I had no idea about the discrepancy surrounding Neil Armstrong's quote! And to go through all that trouble to look for an 'a'!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I still have one of my college notebook from twenty years ago where I have written down a few of my favorite quotes.

    I wouldn't bother too much about misquoting as a quote would live on only if it is insightful, irrespective of who actually said it.

    Destination Infinity

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Pradeep - it's always fascinating to come across an appropriate quote ... I don't use them, yet I know them. Sometimes in my posts I'll add in something apposite, but I do enjoy reading them. My memory has never been very good for that sort of thing - but I enjoy them. I love KP's thought above ... it doesn't matter who says it - if it's particularly relevant at that time. Take care - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  11. As long as the altered quote conveys the same meaning as the original, should it matter? Because I feel, the quotes are for inspiration. As long as they continue to inspire, it shouldn't be a bother. Only caution that needs to be be taken is wrong attribution of the quote by one person to another.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post. Thanks for clearing some things up. I wish you could do that with the news now, I never know what to believe anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a wise and insightful post. I would like to have met Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa. While I am far from being a martyr, their devotion to others always inspires me to be better.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I can't even remember all the quotes I've seen that I've later found out were wildly inaccurate. Good information to have. I hadn't even realized the Shakespeare one wasn't word for word.

    ReplyDelete
  15. A blogger after my own heart - one who is wide-ranging in subject - I shall be back...

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't get too pedantic about a misquote, as long as it is attributed correctly. I'm reading Hamlet right now, and just came across "The lady doth protest too much, methinks," usually misquoted as "Methinks [he/she] doth protest too much." Same meaning.

    I do get pedantic about movie misquotes, if I know the real one, however. "Play it, Sam" is the correct version of "Play it again, Sam." (...and others, ad nauseum.)

    ReplyDelete