The US military appears to have pulled a quote straight from the annals of inspirational Pinterest posts and for some reason attributed it to Lana Del Rey as part of what appears to be an effort to boost female recruitment. (Apologies for all the hypothetical coverage – but we’re all still completely confused too.)
On Saturday evening, January 22, at the innocuous time of 6:03 p.m. ET, the military shared a photo of a woman crawling under barbed wire with the following quote: “Being brave is knowing that when you fail, you don’t fail. always.” The line was credited to Del Rey and the post was capped off with the succinct hashtag, #SoldierSaturday.
“Being brave means knowing that when you fail, you don’t fail forever.” -Lana del Rey
— US Army (@USArmy) January 22, 2022
While a wing of the US military quoting Del Rey is surreal in itself, it’s unclear – and fairly unlikely – that Del Rey ever actually said those words. Certainly, if one googles the quote, a table of results pops up attributing it to Del Rey, some dating back to 2016: it’s printed on motivational jpegs, reused on blog posts like “15 courageous quotes for stimulate your inner courage” on a website called Success.com, and cemented for future generations to remember on the online quote book, AZQuotes.com.
The thing is, none of these aforementioned posts link to an original source, whether it’s an interview, a song, a TED Talk, a motivational corporate speech, no matter what. imported. In fact, you can find the same quote fully attributed to other parties, like this nine-second silent YouTube video from 2018 where it’s paired with a photo of a horse. Frankly, it seems just as possible that the horse said it like Del Rey.
In an attempt to solve this mind-numbing internet mystery, rolling stone contacted Del Rey representatives and the U.S. military for comment, although Del Rey’s camp did not immediately respond. (We’ll update if we get a response; in the meantime, we can also track The advance of Lucy Dacus and get a lobotomy.)
A representative from the US Army of Public Affairs provided a fairly straightforward explanation of the why and how of the quote. “It was found while searching online for motivational quotes about bravery. We often use motivational quotes in our social media content,” the rep said. Rolling stone.
The veracity of the quote aside, it seems odd that Del Rey and the US military would cross paths like this. Much of Del Rey’s career has been built on an endlessly fascinating and precarious foundation that criticizes and worships both American culture and nostalgia. Early in his career, for example, Del Rey often performed in front of an American flag, and it was only after Donald Trump’s 2016 election that she said she felt weird and uncomfortable about it.
To that end, a telling tweet that emerged from the roar of Army quotes came from director Dylan Park, who said he was once on board to direct a Del Rey music video themed “the World War II to current military America. Like some Marilyn Monroe USO shit. Parks added that the military would fund the music video and provide “tanks, helicopters, the works.” It wasn’t until the military asked to use the clip for its recruiting efforts that “LDR said fuck it.”
Lol years ago I was going to direct an LDR music video. The theme was World War II at Today’s Military Americana. Like some Marilyn Monroe USO shit. The army was going to finance it. Tanks, helicopters, the works. But the army wanted to use the video for recruitment and LDR said fuck it. https://t.co/t61nPHY5CR
— Dylan Park (@dyllyp) January 23, 2022