December 19th, 2011 | University

Occupiers top Yale librarian’s quotes of 2011

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Photo by Cynthia Hua.

What do Rick Perry, Charlie Sheen, Gloria Allred and the Occupiers all have in common? Their utterances landed among the top 10 quotes of the 2011, according to an annual list compiled by associate law librarian Fred Shapiro.

Shapiro released his sixth annual list of the most notable quotations of the year on Sunday. Whereas the conservative tea party movement made a big showing in 2010, the Occupy movement’s distaste for the wealthiest Americans colored the top quotes of 2011, Shapiro told the Associated Press.

“The tea party quotes are very strongly anti-government,” he said. “The Occupy quotes and the other more liberal quotes that you see at the top of the list this year are directed more at Wall Street and the upper 1 percent economically of the country rather than focus squarely on government.”

Shapiro has been making the list each year since he originally published the Yale Book of Quotations in 2006. He picks quotes that are “famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times, not necessarily ones that are the most eloquent or admirable,” according to the AP. Each year’s top 10 quotes are added to the newest edition of the Yale Book of Quotations.

Check out the full list below, via the AP:

1) “We are the 99 percent.” — slogan of Occupy movement.

2) “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” — U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, speaking in Andover, Mass., in August.

3) “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.” — Billionaire Warren Buffett, in a New York Times op-ed on Aug. 15.

4) “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” — Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman in an Aug. 18 tweet.

5) “Oops.” — Presidential candidate Rick Perry after unsuccessfully attempting to remember the third federal agency he would eliminate during a Nov. 9 debate.

6) “When they ask me, ‘Who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan?’ I’m going to say, ‘You know, I don’t know. Do you know?'” — Then-presidential candidate Herman Cain in an interview by Christian Broadcasting Network on Oct. 7.

7) “I am on a drug. It’s called ‘Charlie Sheen.’ It’s not available because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.” — Actor Charlie Sheen in a February interview with ABC News.

8) “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” — Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ last words on Oct. 5, as reported by his sister Mona Simpson in her eulogy.

9) “I can’t say with certitude.” — Then-U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner on June 1 when he was asked whether a lewd photograph was in fact him.

10) “Instead of receiving the help that she had hoped for, Mr. Cain instead decided to provide her with his idea of a stimulus package.” — Lawyer Gloria Allred on Nov. 7 discussing Herman Cain’s alleged sexual harassment of her client.

  • terryhughes

    This selection of quotes less indicates any acute sense of pithy language than it documents a particular political orientation of the selector (and a rather banal and smug one at that). Inclusion of Ms. Warren’s stale and almost incoherent campaign rant against a straw man of her own devising? Please. Or can the good Law School librarian produce a Senator Scott Brown quote to the effect that he serves to protect the person “who got rich on his own” as Ms. Warren means it? But her sloganeering is deathless prose compared to Ms. Allred’s embarrassing shtick. Mr. Buffett’s self-serving puff? ‘Nuff said.

    Selections not manifesting their putative selection criteria speak as loudly though their omissions as through their inclusions. Just a sample of what didn’t make it to compare with what did go in:

    “When I meet with world leaders, what’s striking — whether it’s in Europe or here in Asia…” -President Obama mistakenly refers to Hawaii as Asia while holding a press conference outside Honolulu, Nov. 16, 2011.

    “We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad.” —President Obama speaking in Cincinnati, OH, Sept. 22, 2011.

    I especially like this last one, given the President’s advocacy of a continent-spanning hi-speed train boondoggle. After all, SOMEBODY has to complete the South Central Pacific and Mexican Railway now that Augustus Melmotte’s gone! “[H]is idea of a stimulus package,” indeed!

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