TravelGuides – From Marilyn to Shakespeare: how well do you know history’s most bungled quotes? | David Attenborough

TravelGuides – From Marilyn to Shakespeare: how well do you know history’s most bungled quotes? | David Attenborough

Those of you who had “Sir David Attenborough has beef with Adelaide shopping mall plaque” on your 2021 bingo cards must have done a victory dance this week. A local conservationist recognised some “honeybee propaganda”, attributed to the legendary naturalist, on a plaque accompanying a Westfield Tea Tree Plaza mural and alerted the relevant authorities (i.e. Sir David himself).

The plaque has been done away with, but plenty more misquotes and misattributions remain. If you’ve ever seen a brush-script quote adorning a black and white photo, a painted sunset, or an embroidered couch cushion and wondered “Hang on a minute …”, this quiz is for you. Last one to finish gets their name attached to a Spider-Man quote on an inspirational $2 shop fridge magnet.

1.Which of the following meme-able things did Marilyn Monroe actually say?

2.Come awards season, people like to “do a Sally Field” by yelling, “You like me! You really like me!” Did the inimitable Ms Field actually say that in her Oscars speech of 1985?


3.If you follow any #girlboss feminist influencers on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen the quote “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” attributed to Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem. In 2000, Steinem pulled Time Magazine up for crediting her, attesting that the phrase actually originated with the Australian activist and writer Irina Dunn. Where is Dunn reported to have originally written the phrase?

4.William Shakespeare’s influence on the English language is so immense that he is often credited with penning phrases, quotes and edicts that were actually written long after his death. Which of the following quotes was, in fact, written by Shakespeare?

5.One especially famous, if possibly apocryphal, quote that has been attributed to everyone from Frank Zappa to Elvis Costello to Thelonius Monk, pertains to the art of music criticism. It runs: “Writing about music is like — ”

6.For years, Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong took umbrage with the quote most famously attributed to him: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. What was his issue with the quote?


7.James Cameron’s 1998 “I’m the king of the world!” Oscar moment made cringe highlight reels forevermore, but when he picked up the Golden Globe for best director in 2010, he made headlines for nerdier reasons. Which “conlang” (constructed language) did he pepper his speech with?

8.“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” is a witticism incorrectly attributed to which titan of psychoanalytic theory?

9.The big reveal at climax of The Empire Strikes Back has lived on in everything from T-shirts to posters to quotes in other movies. There’s just one problem: Darth Vader never said “Luke, I am your father” in the film. What did he actually say?

10.“For sale: baby shoes, never worn” is a six-word work of flash fiction most commonly attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though numerous deep-dives by researchers have failed to uncover any conclusive evidence that it was, in fact, he who penned it. Nevertheless, we have a fellow author to thank for keeping the dream of “baby shoes” alive: which science fiction star is said to have legitimised the Hemingway legend?


TravelGuides – From Marilyn to Shakespeare: how well do you know history’s most bungled quotes? | David Attenborough

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