False "Mandela" quote ("Brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous")
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Dec 26 00:42:53 UTC 2004
How does this happen? Don't people check? Don't they think at all?
How can Paris Hilton say something so obviously not from Paris Hilton? Or
Charles Dana get credit for something said over a decade earlier? Well, now it's
Nelson Mandela, and don't sound surprised.
I hope Fred has a special section for quotations like this.
amNEW YORK, December 24-26, 2004, pg. 9, col. 1.
Media Beat by David Tereshchuk:
Among all the inspirational saying being spread around at Christmas time,
there have been yet more citations of an ubiquitous - but totally spurious -
quotation from Mandela. You've probably seen it. He is supposed to have urged us
all - at his 1994 presidential inauguration, specifically - not to be
fearful of expressing our individual value to the world: "It is our light, not our
darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?"
The words "gorgeous" and "fabulous" should make anyone sense something
wrong. I was at Mandela's inauguration and he certainly didn't say those words.
But the Internet keeps regurgitating the fallacy, and print publications
have fallen for it, too, including the _New York Post_, _The Atlanta Journal &
Constitution_ and the _Knight Ridder_ chain of newspapers. It turns out the
passage actually came from _Marianne Williamson's_ 1992 book, "_A Return to
Love_." I wanted to double-check that Mandela hadn't perhaps said it sometime,
maybe even quoting Williamson, so I consulted Tony (the recently deceased
Anthony Sampson - ed.). Overnight he confirmed Mandela never had. And on a
personal note, he wrote: "Glad you asked that question - I've just been arguing
with a friend who used it at her husband's funeral."
Some hours after that e-mail he died in his sleep. Right to the end as
always, Anthony Sampson, was helping to establish, in small matters as in large,
what was true and what was not.
(What Mandela really said was "Merry Christmas to all!" I think he coined
that - ed.)
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