Any way you slice it, human beings are pack animals, meaning we're very susceptible to a "herd" mentality. I know, you're fiercely independent. You're unique, un-impressionable. You're special, I get it. But I'm pretty sure there are plenty of Coronavirus worrywarts who are rushing to Costco to hoard toilet paper that expressed those very same sentiments in their Tinder profiles.
Because of this "herd" mentality, it isn't surprising to realize that we collectively misremember important events.
Either that or we straight up forget them entirely. While this is a phenomenon that happens a lot with movie quotes; Darth Vader says "No — I am your father," not, "Luke, I am your father." And in Jaws the line is, "You're going to need a bigger boat," not, "We're gonna need a bigger boat." But you'd think that with something as significant as important historical events we'd actually remember the facts.
But a recent tweet put out by Jessica Blankenship is receiving tons of responses that point out just how often we misremember facts and collectively reinforce false narratives. And in many cases we allow these "alternative facts" to replace what actually happened or what should be the focus of humanity's "greater record keeping."
Like the Y2K bug.
The threat associated with the dawning of a new millennium came and went and folks who hoarded up on "Doomsday Supplies" looked like a bunch of morons. But that wasn't because there wasn't a threat to begin with — there was. It was actually all resolved behind the scenes thanks to a large, global collective effort that saved computing as we know it. But who cares about all that nerd talk?
On that note...Dennis Ritchie is responsible for Apple's OSX, not Steve Jobs.
The business acumen, viciousness, and branding powers of Steve Jobs made Apple the trillion dollar company that it is today. But the core of Apple's success was its operating system, OSX...which wouldn't have existed without Dennis Ritchie. Dennis passed around the same time as Steve, but no one talked about or really mentioned his passing except for die-hard geeks.
While everyone lamented the death of the technological "mastermind" behind the Cupertino-based tech retailer, the real father of modern computing, Dennis Ritchie, who made his findings open source for others to freely use without charge, was all but forgotten.
America's most notorious school shooters were always bullies.
For some reason, people think that the Columbine shooters were incessantly teased, nagged, and didn't "fit in" at school. This simply wasn't the case — they didn't lash out or "snap" at those who bullied them, they were actually longtime bullies. The school shooting they orchestrated was just more of them subjecting their fellow classmates to further "cruelty." How the myth materialized that they were misunderstood outcasts is beyond me.
International Women's Day is a Socialist celebration.
The holiday began as a protest in order to raise awareness for women's rights all over the world and specifically in some nations to urge political leaders to grant women the right to vote. For others, it was a celebration of "womanhood" and equal opportunities in the workforce, which originally began as Socialist and Communist incentives in nations all over the world.
While we're getting all political...
In 2005, Joe Biden voted in favor of a bill that would make it impossible to discharge student loan debt in the event of a bankruptcy. That's not say that the onus falls on him entirely, he was one of many politicians who voted in favor of this bill, but college tuition prior to 2005, while not exactly cheap, was still way lower than it is today, even adjusted for inflation. So it's not crazy to think that, had this bill not been passed, the prices of higher education wouldn't have become the turgid and impossible-to-deal-with-nightmares that they've become today.
Caballeros didn't all look like Clint Eastwood.
They didn't get into gunfights. They looked after and tended to cattle and were shacked up with other dudes all by themselves and would develop feelings for one another. Heck, there were famous songs written about it, which makes Brokeback Mountain more the rule than the exception. Sorry, Sergio Leone, but all cowboys weren't square-jawed, white, lean, and handsome quick-draw savants.
Al Gore's refusal to concede in the 2000 election wasn't out of being a "sore loser."
A lot of people seem to forget just how controversial Bush II's election into the White House was at the turn of the century. There was strong evidence at the time that Bush's administration had outright committed voter fraud to steal Florida, which was easy to do because his brother, Jeb, was the governor of the state from 1999 to 2007.
Media stories were spun to make it look like "dumb Floridians" didn't know how to vote due to "dimpled" and "hanging" chads — the jokes remain until this very day.
However, it was pretty much proven by several researchers and journalists, like Daniel Lazare in The Velvet Coup, how the Constitution was bent, molded, exploited, and in some cases, thrown out the window to instate George W. Bush as the President of the United States. Hate Trump all you want, but the man was democratically elected. Bush and his administration straight up stole the White House and the Supreme Court was needed to put him there.
In fact, people seem to forget that George W. Bush didn't even make the entire "inaugural parade walk" for fear of civil unrest being so great that his life would be in danger.
Canada wasn't always the "nice guy" country.
Prior to October 1941, Jews were able to emigrate out of Hitler's Germany. However, they were faced with a multitude of difficulties. As the dictator's reign grew and grew, more restrictions were placed on Jewish citizens. Initially, they could take all of their belongings and money and leave the country, but as time progressed, if their wealth was invested in a German bank, there was only so much capital they could bring with them, if any at all. Meaning many had to flee their home penniless.
The biggest problems Jews from Germany and other occupied territories faced, however, were countries that would take them in. While several initiatives to create "havens" for Jewish refugees in North America were proposed, but ultimately abandoned, it was a terse response from a Canadian Immigration official that summed up this global human failure. When asked how many Jewish refugees would be allowed in the country, who would face death otherwise, he said, "None would be too many."
'The Godfather' made history for multiple reasons.
Newsflash: Italians aren't considered "high" on the list of discriminated-against ethnic groups, but when The Godfather was released, production studios thought the film would flop because "white" viewers would be alienated. Hardly surprising, when you consider Ricardo Montalban played a Japanese guy in a movie, and John Wayne acted as Genghis Khan.
Marlon Brando's terrible roles and even more disastrous personal life.
While the talented screen actor is heralded as the greatest American performer who ever lived, for every Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront, Orpheus Descending, and Godfather role...he also sucked in a lot of films. Like when he pulled a non-ironic RDJ from Tropic Thunder in Teahouse of the August Moon and donned yellowface to play a Japanese man. Brando was also Michael Jackson's acting coach as the King of Pop tried to get into Hollywood as on-camera talent, but never succeeded.
Furthermore, Brando had a tumultuous personal life: his daughter hanged herself and blamed him for her depression in a hate-filled letter before doing so. The actor, himself, admitted to not being the best father in court when discussing the passing of his daughter.
He also hated dieting so much he paid a studio kid to throw cheeseburgers over his fence so his wife wouldn't find out he was eating junk.
Let's not forget the curious case of his iconic scenes in Apocalypse Now. Originally, the character of Kurtz was supposed to be a lean and men ex-Marine who gets into a fight with Martin Sheen at the end of the film. But when Brando showed up to set overweight, Francis Ford Coppola had a mental breakdown, then scrapped the battle between the two characters, and re-wrote the movie's climactic showdown, dressing Brando all in black and shooting him in half darkness.
Brando even ignored most of the script then, ad-libbing most of his lines while eating nuts. He was paid a whopping $3.5 million for 15 minutes of screen time. It's hailed as one of the most brilliant scenes in a film that redefined cinema as we know it, but not many people know the weird history behind how it got made: like how Harvey Keitel had Sheen's leading role first, but lost it.
How are you remembering the Alamo?
I love Pee Wee's Big Adventure as much as the next '80s kid, but the Alamo's history of glory has a lot to do with Texans trying to preserve slavery as an institution, which is probably why movies about the battle really haven't done so well over the years. It's not the heroic "blaze of glory" some people might think it is.
While we're on the topic of the old west, Wyatt Earp and his family were pretty much America's first mafia family, too.
Brandy's career took a nosedive because of a booger...
OK, maybe the fact that she ran over someone with a car and was racked with guilt over it had something to do with her falling out of the limelight...but she sort of became a running joke right after "The Boy is Mine" music video debuted and it became apparent there was something in her nose for the majority of the shoot.
People also forget that she went on record saying she hated performing live and refused to go on-stage with Monica to perform the chart-topping single at the VMAs.
"In God We Trust" and "One Nation, under God" aren't the original words.
The pledge of allegiance contains the phrase, "One Nation, Under God" but the religious portion of the phrase was never in the original verbiage when the pledge was written. In fact, the founding fathers shunned any mention of religion and were huge on the whole "separation of Church and State" thing that. That didn't stop McCarthyism from stamping "In God We Trust" on our currency though in the 1950s.
Censors neutered Wolverine in the 'X-Men: The Animated Series", plus Wolverine's height.
Hugh Jackman may have re-imagined Wolverine as this big badass with a troubled past, but the truth is the Canadian mutant was actually a short dude with a hell of a mean streak and was tenacious AF. Fans of the old school cartoon might remember Wolvie for his bad attitude, but compared to other mutants, he never really dealt that much damage, despite having one of the coolest powers. You can blame censors for that.
Weird '90s TV cartoon rules stipulated that blunt trauma, or fantastical attacks, like with laser gun blasts, were OK. But dealing damage with actual guns and bullets, or cutting people with blades were no-nos. So while Cyclops and Storm and Jubilee of all people were wrecking Sentinels with energy blasts and manipulating the elements, Wolverine was taking nine hours to cut one down to size. Or getting tied up by Sabretooth, just wishing the animators would let him stick an opponent for once.
Unions didn't have as much to do with workplace safety and rights as you think.
Henry Ford, one of the biggest capitalists and players in the Industrial Revolution established a 40 hour work week without a change in pay. His reasoning wasn't necessarily to look after the health of his employees (it could've been), but he also went on record as saying that leisure time was important for the stimulation of the economy as well. Would you look at that.
Yale's "Vietnam" protests weren't just about the war.
No, it doesn't have to do with what Ben Carson was "against" either (nerd), Yale, compared to other schools like Harvard and Columbia, actually had much tamer Vietnam war protests. So why was the government so involved in what was going on at the Yale campus?
The Black Panthers.
Bobby Seale and other members of the Black Panthers had killed an alleged FBI mole who resided in New Haven, where Yale is. Several Yale students protested to have the trial moved out of the city to give Seale and other Panthers members a better shot at a fair trial. That's why there were "riots" on campus — it had less to do with the Vietnam war, and more to do with the fact that the FBI was pissed one of their agents were outed as they tried to quell and keep tabs on vocal members of the civil rights movement.
Gary Oldman was married to Uma Thurman and was madly in love with her.
Allegedly, the two had broken up after Thurman cheated on Oldman with Robert DeNiro. The Oscar winner has been very candid about using trauma from past experiences in order to inspire him to get emotional for specific performances. Many believe his romantic, lovesick performance in 1992's Dracula was a direct response to the dissolution of his union with Uma.
Someone already confessed to killing Chandra Levy, remember her?
Prior to the September 11th World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, the biggest story on the news, especially conservative outlets, was the murder of Chandra Levy. If you remember her name, the only thing you probably recall being associated with the young DC intern was Democratic politician Gary Condit, who lost his re-election campaign in 2002. There was tons of speculation he had something to do with her death, but nothing materialized, which only made theorists more nutty.
As it turns out, however, Chandra Levy's killer was Ingmar Guandique, who confessed to attacking her and several other women in Rock Creek park, where Chandra's remains were discovered. The information was, for some reason, ignored by the Metropolitan Police Department at the time and technically, Levy's murder remains "unsolved" and is still a sticking point for political tin-foiler-hatters all over the country, but Ingmar admitted to killing her.
There are tons of examples of huge media stories that were large scale cultural phenomenons that people don't remember correctly or flat out forgot, where popular, albeit factually incorrect narratives became the ones that ultimately permeated our collective social consciousness. Can you think of any other examples?