[Ads-l] Early QOTY candidate for 2016 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 21 00:34:53 UTC 2016

Bill speculates about what standard I am using for the ten most notable quotations of the year.  But the standards are spelled out in the link he has posted -- quotes that are "famous, important or particularly revealing of the spirit of the times."  The first of these criteria is fairly objective, the second has some subjectivity in it, and the third has a lot of subjectivity in it.

Note that the kind of quotes I include in the annual lists are very different from the kind I include in the Yale Book of Quotations.  The YBQ is, like, Shakespeare and Yogi Berra and other great sages.  The annual lists are, like, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin and other deplorable individuals.  (I'm exaggerating somewhat.  In recent years I have made an effort to have the lists go beyond ridiculous politicians, although in an election year or the year before an election year it's tough for mere mortals to compete with the likes of Trump or Palin or Carson.)

I can understand Bill thinking that humanity should be irrelevant to my lists, but I don't understand his dismissal of context.  Surely context is important whatever the criteria are.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Mullins, Bill CIV (US) [william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL]
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 5:15 PM
Subject: Re: Early QOTY candidate for 2016 (UNCLASSIFIED)


> When the time comes to compile my top 10 quotations of the year, it may be
> that I will leave this one out because the context is, another way, contra-
> dictory: Haley was making a humane point criticizing someone else who was
> being inhumane.

What should the humanity or the context have to do with it?  If the quote ends up
being one of the top ten most important, it seems to me it should be included in
your list, and not left out because of whether you approve or disapprove of
what's being said.

(And I realize that there's no objective way of measuring whatever it is that the
top 10 quotes have, compared to others -- it's a subjective list, compiled by Fred
Shapiro.  But your comment seems to imply you are using some standard other than
impact to judge the quotes.)

And related:  if there ever was a link posted to the ADS-L for the 2015 list, I never saw it.
So, for the benefit of the other list participants:


(Note: it was really difficult to find an article that had a simple text-based list of the quotations.
EVERYONE wants to use a gallery in which you have to load a new screen or frame -- and presumably
new ads -- to get to each successive entry in the list.  Who knew that the list would become such


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