Every so often on the Internet, you run into a lengthy diatribe that supposedly comes from Bill Gates, Kurt Vonnegut, Lee Iacocca, Andy Rooney, Andy Griffith or a wide array of other Andys and non-Andys. It's usually exceptionally cranky advice that, in some peoples' minds, separates the titans from the middling pack. The funny thing is, the pieces almost never come close to matching the actual views or personality of their supposed authors. Anyone who's read genuine works by these figures can spot the misattributions right away. But even when informed that the authorship is wrong, many will say, that's OK, it's still good advice. That's a matter of opinion.
I wonder what Charles J. Sykes thinks about this. He's written several books about how American kids are stupid and how schools are coddling their feelings. Whatever valid points he makes are buried under tons of mean-spirited rhetoric. Despite that (or perhaps because of it), Sykes' words are viral wildfire across the Internet, albeit credited to more famous people. Sykes has to be pissed that he's got such a wide fan base who doesn't realize he exists. But I'm sure not as pissed as those who get the credit.
One thoroughly Snopified image making the rounds these days attributes Sykes' work to Bill Gates:
As a budding writer myself, I run the chance of one day having sentiments like these tied to my name. These words will warm many a cold heart, but will be about as far from mine as writing gets. And not only will people not know it's not me, but they wouldn't care if they did know. They will form an entirely new false fan base. With that in mind, I've created my own pre-emptive fake poster of words I wrote that aren't really my thoughts. Hey, image control. It's important!