Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, has determined that the plea, “Don’t tase me, bro!” was the most memorable quotation of the year. The plea was made by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer on Sept. 17 as he was assaulted with a taser on the occasion of Sen. John Kerry’s speech at the university.
Getting the number two nod was the remark made by the Miss Teen America contest’s Lauren Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina, after she was asked why 20% of Americans cannot locate the U.S. on a map: “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us.”
Anything that comes after that is anticlimactic, but here’s number three: “”In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” a remark made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
And–in case you’re wondering where it is, coming in fourth was Don Imus’s “That’s some nappy-headed hos there.”
Here is the rest of the top ten:
5. “I don’t recall,” which was said repeatedly by former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during questioning at a congressional hearing about the firing of U.S. attorneys.
6. “There’s only three things he (Republican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani) mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11.” Bad grammar aside, this was the handiwork of Sen. Josephy Biden.
7. “I’m not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating.” said Dick Cheney of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
8. “(I have) a wide stance when going to the bathroom.” This is probably my personal favorite, and was, of course, Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig’s explanation of why his foot touched that of an undercover policeman in a men’s room. The Logo Channel has given this wonderful quotation a place in its gay dictionary. Usage: “Sheila, Larry’s just not into you–he has a wide stance.”
9. Sen. Biden makes the list a second time, discussing Sen. Barack Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
10. And finally, former president Jimmy Carter: “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.”
I wish there were a few specialized categories. For instance, Chris Matthews could probably have the top ten misogynistic quotations all on his own, with remarks like these:
“[Sen. Clinton gave a] barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman; it can grate on some men when they listen to it–fingernails on a blackboard.”
“[House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi will] have to do the good fight with the president over issues such as the minimum wage and prescription drugs. How does she do it without screaming? How does she do it without becoming grating?”
“[Sen. Clinton’s] “clapping (at a victory event). I don’t get it. It’s just not appealing;” It’s Chinese or something.”
And let’s not forget that George W. Bush is still at it:
“All of us in America want there to be fairness when it comes to justice.”
“I heard somebody say, ‘Where’s (Nelson) Mandela?’ Well, Mandela’s dead. Because Saddam killed all the Mandelas.” (This came as a surprise, I’m sure, to Mr. Mandela.)
I’m honored to be here with the eternal general of the United States, mi amigo Alberto Gonzales.”
“One of my concerns is that the health care not be as good as it can possibly be.”
“The best way to defeat the totalitarian of hate is with an ideology of hope — an ideology of hate –excuse me–with an ideology of hope.”