“Don’t believe everything you read online.” –Abraham Lincoln
It’s always an interesting journey, learning about history. Mistakes can be made, then perpetuated as though they were truths. I recall in my recent history, when I asked our social media audience about “the pink building you can see from 41″… I didn’t double-check my personal memory and called a white stucco building pink. That pink flooded my cheeks when I was called on it!
Then there’s the aspiring nonfiction writer whose entire manuscript must be called on verity when he doesn’t even get the historical figure’s son’s name right. You do well to read with one eyebrow arched in mistrust, or simply do as I did… throw the book across the room in exasperation.
They say that primary sources are the only sources to trust, but sometimes, primary sources are in short supply or sometimes, those primaries have a bone to pick or an agenda that’s not always The Truth. Hence, many fables get cited as truth that shouldn’t be.
And sometimes, the mistake is simply one of sentence structure and assumptions. Did Ringling’s elephants build the Causeway? Wellll…. kinda, but not like your mental picture of pachyderms wading in the sea grass.
I’m prepping a presentation right now on Sarasota’s Fabulous Fables & Fascinating Facts (it’ll be ready for hire soon from our Speaker’s Bureau) and having a ball with this whole concept. Thank goodness for our members who are local history experts, and for the primary sources at Historical Resources, so I can double, triple, check what’s real and what is not.
But sometimes, a fable’s just too much fun to die. Hellooo Sara DeSota, you precious young thing you.