The caged bird’s stolen song

I think the obvious lesson here is that we need to turn more responsibility for the arts over to government employees:

The United States Postal Service is set to honor Maya Angelou today in a dedication ceremony for a new postage stamp depicting the legendary author, poet and singer. But there’s one problem: The quotation that accompanies Angelou’s picture on the stamp was apparently not originally written by her.

The text on the new “forever” stamp reads: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” It appears to be a reference to Angelou’s best-known book, her 1969 memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

But the Washington Post reported yesterday that the quotation can also be found in “A Cup of Sun,” a 1967 poetry collection by children’s author Joan Walsh Anglund. A Postal Service spokesman told the newspaper that the line, which has been widely attributed to Angelou by people including President Obama, was approved for use on the stamp by Angelou’s family.

In a follow-up story, the Post talked to Anglund, who said the words on the stamp were hers. The newspaper notes that “Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from ‘he’ in Anglund’s original to ‘it’ on the stamp.”

Sometimes, it is painful to realize that for decades, we have been losing to these incompetents. How is it even possible? But, you see, when you don’t show up and play, even the most incompetent opponent will defeat you.