|"I'm still alive! Or at least I was."|
It received its name due to a large swath of people who were surprised when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in early 1990; they were positive that he had died several years earlier.
These folks somehow missed a decade or so of speeches, marches, and songs that shared the same meme: Free Nelson Mandela. Unless they thought we should've freed him from his coffin and put him on display as an animatronic figure in Disneyland.
Now, my personal theory is that they were confusing Mandela with Steve Biko, another anti-apartheid activist who was killed in 1977 while in police custody. Peter Gabriel recorded a song about him in 1980 -- right around the time people thought Mandela had died. All those anti-apartheid activists look alike to us ofays!
|Or maybe Billy Graham|
switched places with Mitt
Romney, and nobody noticed.
Right now, Pfizer is probably working on an ad campaign for people "suffering from the Mandela Effect." Possible side effects include being aware of current events.
Not that it would do any good. Instead of merely saying, "Huh, I thought he was dead," then deciding what they're going to make for dinner, these people "remember" where and when they heard about these deaths, almost to the date. Rather than admitting the mind can be a trickster, many of them seriously believe they briefly lived in a parallel universe or experienced a "reality shift".
|Because people were too busy|
thinking Mandela died.
It all seemed rather silly to me. Until I realized that I, too, have my own Mandela Effect. And it has nothing to do with anti-apartheid activists or Southern Baptists. It involves a simple, three-syllable word.
Until fairly recently, I thought "dilemma" was spelled "dilemna." I remember being taught that in grammar school, and seeing it spelled that way in newspapers. And before you make fun of me, I ask: does the spelling of "knight" or "wriggle" make any sense? So why do you laugh at "dilemna"?
I'm not alone in this. Many of us dilemnaphiles lived our entire lives this way. So you'd think there'd be something to it, right? Like maybe the spelling gradually changed over time, the way "connexion" became "connection" by the early 20th-century, or "dout" became "doubt" by the 16th. And there's such a thing as alternate spellings -- aeroplane/airplane, apologise/apologize, politics/bullshit.
Not according to self-described "Grammar Girl" Mignon Fogarty:
I was taught the wrong spelling in school, and when I got older and checked a dictionary, I was shocked to find that the word is spelled "dilemma." Further, the only correct spelling is "dilemma." It's not as if "dilemna" is a substandard variant or regional spelling. Dictionaries often note alternative spellings and sometimes even nonstandard spellings, but "dilemna"doesn't even show up that way.
As far back as 1916, the dilemma that the dashing druggist had didn't involve spelling. Nor was Dick Tracy distracted by poor grammar when stalked by a two-bit Capt. Hook in 1947.
So where the hell did "dilemna" come from? Did we misremember it over time? Or did we live in that fabled parallel universe where silent n's were all the rage?
I'm hoping it all comes down to time-traveling. That way, maybe I can do it again. I want to make a pit-stop in 1968, and put Yoko Ono on the first plane back to New York.