From Marilyn to Shakespeare: how well do you know history’s most bungled quotes?

The internet is full of wonky attributions and made-up catchphrases, from real life and pop culture. Can you tell your Attenborough from your Armstrong?

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.

• This article was amended on 4 December 2021 to correct the spelling of Thelonious Monk’s first name.


Clem Bastow

The GuardianTramp

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