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June 24, 2008

Et Tu, M. Night?

Viewers of M. Night Shyamalan's new film, The Happening, were treated, at the movie's outset, to a certain quotation from Albert Einstein regarding the disappearance of the bee. A quotation that, as Gelf reported more than a year ago, likely never passed from the famed physicist's lips. If Shyamalan would like to know more about the origins of the phrase we'd like to suggest that he—shameless plug here—read the article.

Einstein Bees
The quote's persistence confuses us, not because we expected that the matter would be put to rest by this humble quarter of the internets, but because the connection between Albert Einstein and bees is…tenuous at best. Einstein was not an entomologist, and, as Dr. Roni Grosz, curator of the Albert Einstein Archives, told Gelf back in 2007, he had "no particular expertise or even interest" in the field. Also, why four years? We couldn't answer that one, but we're still curious.

At least Roger Ebert seems to have it right, sort of. In his review of the movie, Ebert notes that Einstein "never said any such thing." Perhaps Ebert got his information from us, but perhaps not—if he did, he'd know that the extinction of the bee would be bad news for humanity, even without Albert Einstein's imprimatur.

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