“Luke, I am your father.” -Darth Vader


COMMENT: Did you know that this quote, which is arguably one of the most well-known utterances in cinematic history, was actually never said? Go back and watch the original scene; it isn’t there. In fact, many of our most cherished quips are like this. Captain Kirk never said, “Beam me up, Scotty.” Sherlock Holmes never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Charles Darwin never said, “Survival of the fittest.” What’s going on here? In their book, “Made to Stick,” Chip and Dan Heath discuss this phenomenon. What often happens is that, as a quote is passed on and re-quoted, it is gradually honed and refined into a version that more concisely and accurately conveys the author’s intent than the original. For example, Leo Durocher, a baseball player in the 1930’s, was initially furious to see that he was being misquoted in the press. However, the misquote resonated with readers so well that he eventually capitulated and accepted the streamlined version of his remarks. He even made it the title of his autobiography: “Nice Guys Finish Last.”

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