7 Quotes By Famous Geniuses (That Everyone Gets Wrong)

Quotes are like fast food. As long as it looks good on the surface, nobody cares if there's shit in it. Unsurprisingly, this has led to some of our greatest thinkers being horribly misrepresented by the general public and your more annoying friends. For example ... (Click for full) http://goo.gl/64dXUR
  1. "Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit" - William Shakespeare
    Attributing this to Shakespeare as if it's life advice is like, well, doing this: "Release your anger! Only your hatred can destroy me!" -- George Lucas It's true that Lucas wrote those words, but they were written in a work of fiction to be spoken by a bad guy. They don't represent Lucas' position (as far as we know).
  2. "If You're Not A Liberal When You're 25, You Have No Heart. If You're Not A Conservative By The Time You're 35, You Have No Brain" -- Winston Churchill
    First things first: Churchill never said it. Second things second: Churchill's changes of political affiliation had everything to do with opportunism and little to do with ideology. He simply thought that both camps made good points, but he also liked being in the one that had more power at the time.
  3. "Sometimes, A Cigar Is Just A Cigar" -- Sigmund Freud
    The earliest attribution of the quote comes from the 1960s, well after Freud was dead, and even then it's vague, unsourced, and secondhand. In fact, the guy who most likely originated the quote in 1961 freely admits that there's no record of Freud ever having said it. It's also pretty much the opposite of the entire point of Freud's theory of psychoanalysis, which, if you buy into it, hinges on unconscious tendencies. There's a reason you're smoking that cigar, damn it!
  4. "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" -- Robert Frost
    Frost wrote "Good fences make good neighbors" in the same sense that Swift wrote that the Irish should eat their children to combat famine. Context matters. In this case, "Mending Wall" is about how fences are against human nature. The poem opens with "Something there is that doesn't love a wall." It means that there's a natural tendency toward breaking down barriers, because humans aren't meant to be walled off from one another.
  5. "So You're The Little Woman Who Started This Big War" -- Abraham Lincoln
    Sure, it's a good story, but there's no proof that it ever happened. Lincoln and Stowe sure as shit never mentioned it to anyone. The anecdote emerged from Stowe's family's oral tradition a couple of generations after she had kicked the bucket, and historians sort of said, "Alright, to hell with sourcing, then" and started repeating it as fact, because apparently they all came into work drunk that day.
  6. "God Does Not Play Dice With The Universe" -- Albert Einstein
    Einstein (who, incidentally, could maybe be characterized as an agnostic/deist) was a firm believer in the classical model of physics, and had many debates with Bohr trying to convince him that really small things act exactly like really big things. So when he said "God does not play dice," it really meant something like "The laws of physics are constant." Seeing as how quantum mechanics are still a thing, it's fair to say that he lost those debates.
  7. "Write Drunk, Edit Sober" -- Ernest Hemingway
    In fact, Hemingway kind of said that he couldn't respect anyone who drank while writing, and criticized William Faulkner for doing exactly that. So what was his secret to cranking out picture-less macho porn? Hard work. He simply got up every day and wrote, wrote, wrote, and never let booze fuel his work because he respected the art of writing too much. Instead, he saved the hooch for other occasions, like taking a break from his work, or beating the crap out of his family.