Quotes / Artistic License – History

"The ‘historical novel’ is, for me, condemned... to a fatal cheapness, for the simple reason that the difficulty of the job is inordinate... You may multiply the little facts that may be got from pictures and documents, relics and prints, as much as you like — the real thing is almost impossible to do, and in its essence the whole effect is as naught: I mean the invention, the representation of the old CONSCIOUSNESS, the soul, the sense, the horizon, the vision of individuals in whose mind half the things that make ours, that make the modern world, were non-existent. You have to think with your modern apparatus a man, a woman or rather fifty – whose own thinking was intensely otherwise conditioned, you have to simplify back by an amazing tour de force – and even then it’s all humbug."
Henry James, Letter to Sarah Orne Jewett, about her historical novel, The Tory Lover.

He who would write about the French Resistance without romanticism and without even drawing upon the imagination is chained by his civic responsibilities. It is that a novel or a poem is less true, less vivid than an account of authentic happenings. i rather believe the contrary. But we are living in the midst of horror, surrounded by bloodshed. i have felt neither the right nor the strength to go beyond the simplicity of the chronicle, the humility of the document.
Joseph Kessel, Preface to his memoir Army of Shadows, later adapted into a film by Jean-Pierre Melville.

"Newsies, we are informed as the movie opens, is based on actual events. I do not doubt this. I am sure that shortly before the turn of the century, newsboys organized a strike against the greedy Joseph Pulitzer, and were cheered on by a dance-hall madam with a heart of gold. Nor do I doubt that the lads, some of them boys of nine or ten, hung out in saloons and bought rounds of beer while making their plans, or that the proprietor of an evil city orphanage made himself rich by collecting fees from the city. I don't even doubt that the newsboys printed their own strike paper on an old flat-bed press down in the basement of Pulitzer's building. Of course I believe. Yes, Virginia."

"Did that stop Abraham Lincoln when he was outnumbered by the Redcoats on the D-Day? No. And when John Paul Jones and Ringo ran out of tea in Boston, did that stop them from throwing their party? Of course not. Yes, my friends. I, like George Jefferson before me, cannot tell a lie."

"Well, for starters, Abraham Lincoln didn't write To Kill a Mockingbird..."
Frank Heffley, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

"Since their discovery in 1895, hills have fascinated kings."

"The 18th century was a time of rapid innovation; in the space of a single year, the two-storey building, the stage play, America, and the rocket launcher were all invented by the same man: Shakespearicles, the strongest writer who ever lived. Despite his powerful grasp of language and the ability to bench press 700 British pounds, several inventions eluded his iron grip - most tragically among them, stairs. For the next three hundred years, people who needed to get to the second floor used the only method available to them: shooting a rocket launcher at their feet. Yes, it was ridiculous, crippling, and awful, but what are you going to do? Not go to the second floor? That's where your bed is.
Luckily, in 1857, a young bearded inventor named President Abraham Lincoln stumbled upon the answer: stairs. Unluckily, he never grasped the full import of his own invention, and died attempting to rocket jump up the world's first staircase in his laboratory at Ford's Theater. Horrified by this tragedy, mankind agreed never to invent anything again, turning its many scientists and scholars to that most noble endeavor, astrology.
It would not be until 1921 when hotheaded Pisces Franklin D Roosevelt, languishing in a hospital after losing both of his legs in a rocket-jumping accident, stumbled upon Lincoln's notes and perfected the modern staircase, freeing people from the tyranny of the second floor as Lincoln intended."

"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a 'zoo'... Unless it's a farm!"
The Soldier, Team Fortress 2.

Jeremy: Can't we just play a football match. Like how England beat Germany for the First World War.
Mark: I have no idea how to answer that.

"Genji 2 is an action game which is based on Japanese history. Being based on history, the stages of the game will also be based on famous battles which actually took place in ancient Japan. [...] So, here's this Giant Enemy Crab..."
Bill Ritch, 2006 E3 presentation

"I'm MC Historical Inaccuracy
I drop lyrical bombs
Like Hiroshima
In 73
I write rhymes like Shakespeare
When he wrote Ann Frank's Diary
Which is about the Civil War of 1812
In Germany
I'm like the Spanish Inquisition
When they killed Jesus
And Abe Lincoln's suicide
Was the theme for my thesis
Like Moses, when I focus
I can split the Red Sea
Like he did in 1950
With the Chinese Army"

"Our Historical Accuracy Policy
We don't have one. This game is not intended to teach the history of our country nor its possible future. Please don't get into an argument at school or at a party and say, 'Well, LucasArts says that John Hancock wrote his name big because it impressed girls.' We're both going to look silly."

"Usually a blockade is to stop something you don't want to get in. You see we once set up a naval blockade around Cuba to stop the Russians from setting up missile launchers there. It was a little event you might have heard of, wasn't a big deal you know. But you might have heard of it. It was called World War I! Jeez, you stupid people gotta learn your history right."

"I've never read anything about Moloch being worshiped in Portugal, but that doesn't mean it never happened."