A letter doesn't get mailed because it has a stamp on it. A letter gets mailed because you wrote it. Or maybe somebody else wrote it and you accidentally on purpose signed your name to it. And since millions of postage stamps, especially the forever ones, don't get recalled or retracted just because of a little plagiarism issue, let's just call it a day and put a stamp on it. Let's not relitigate the past. We must look forward, not backward. We must progress to the next chapter of our long national
The phrase on the stamp honoring the late Maya Angelou was actually written by Joan Walsh Anglund and originally appeared in her poetry collection called "A Cup of Sun." The quote has been wrongly attributed to Angelou for many years, not least because she often quoted it herself without attribution, and thus was the plagiarism perpetuated, even recently by the great man himself. Barack Obama requoted the quote during a 2013 award ceremony for Angelou, who is said to have stood mutely by without bothering to correct either the record or the president. I know not why the caged tongue. I can only assume that she didn't want to embarrass the president, whom she had endorsed for reelection. However, as Angelou herself wrote, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
The Postal Service is not going postal over the malattribution, so why should you? Spokesman Mark Saunders shrugged it off, telling the Washington Post that attribution doesn't matter if it's been part of the False Narrative since forever. Why else would they call it a forever stamp?
“Had we known about this issue beforehand, we would have used one of [Angelous's-sic] many other works,” USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said in an e-mail on Monday. “The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity.”Even the official unveiling of the Stamp was fraught. Just as Oprah Winfrey got up to speak at the event, the lights went out. Because electricity doesn't happen because Oprah wrote a speech. It happens because the infrastructure is properly maintained and chunks of metal don't fall onto power lines for no apparent reason.
“The Postal Service puts a great deal of time and energy into vetting the stamps it releases each year,” Saunders added in a follow-up email. “This stamp was similarly vetted. We found that the phrase was widely attributed to Angelou in many mediums and by some dignitaries and we were not aware of Ms. Anglund’s 1967 book.”
Maybe the Postal Service can make good on its error by issuing a forever stamp for Joan Walsh Anglund. One of her iconic children's illustrations can be matched with an original saying by Maya Angelou.
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