Most Notable Quotations of 2012?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 20 17:04:02 UTC 2012

On Nov 20, 2012, at 10:24 AM, Baker, John wrote:

> Ben Bernanke:  "Under current law, on January 1, 2013, there's going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases."  According to Paul Waldman,, this was the first use of "fiscal cliff" to refer to what Wonkblog more accurately calls the austerity crisis.
> Richard Mourdock:  "Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen."
> Rick Perry:  "Oops."  Unfortunately, the full quote is so inarticulate (which is sort of the point) that it isn't very quotable.
> John Baker

Three or four others from past ads-l postings:

> "If you have voted after you are dead, there is a good, strong
> possibility that you did something illegal," he said to reporters
> after speaking to the panel.

The line came from Retired Army Colonel Kevin Schwedo who is South
Carolina's Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles. IMO it's
already a QOTY candidate and we're only in the second week of January.

[from Victor S., 11 Jan.]

Bart to Homer, who's astride some vehicle that is obviously going to
blow up: Dad, are you sure this is a good idea?

Homer. …Idea[s] aren't good or bad! They're just *free*!

[from Jon L., 20 Feb.]

Romney "political director" Rich Beeson, telling us why, even if he
loses Ohio, he might still manage being elected:  "If ifs and buts
were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas."

[from Joel B., 27 Sept., but later pointed out to be amply antedated]

In an update on the Frankenstorm this afternoon, Gov. Dannel [sic] P. Malloy framed the situation by informing the citizenry watching on local television, "The last time we saw anything like this was never".  With a nice pause for effect between the last two words.

[from Larry H., 28 Oct.]


> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Shapiro, Fred
> Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:45 PM
> Subject: Most Notable Quotations of 2012?
> I'm starting to think about my annual list, run by the Associated Press, of the top 10 most notable quotations of the year.  By "notable" I mean "important" or "famous" or "particularly revealing of the spirit of our times" rather than necessarily being eloquent or admirable.
> I would welcome suggestions of notable quotations from 2012, particularly ones from politics or popular culture or entertainment or sports or business or technology.
> I already have the following in mind as plausible candidates for the list, all drawn from the election campaigns:
> Romney on liking being able to fire people
> Romney on 47 percent
> Romney on binders full of women
> Obama on "you didn't build that"
> Obama on horses and bayonets
> Eric Fehrnstrom on "Etch a Sketch"
> Todd Akin on legitimate rape
> Fred Shapiro
> Editor
> YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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