Jewish World Review Dec. 31, 2002 / 26 Teves 5763
Quotable and notable in 2002
One of the best ways to get through each year is to pay attention
to the strange and wonderfully well (or badly) put things people say.
And 2002 was no different.
If it's true that Yogi Berra once said you can see a lot just by
looking (and even Yogi often can't remember whether he said what he
once said), it's also true that you can hear a lot just by listening.
You can argue, of course, that it's unfair to pull out just a few
of all the millions of words a person spoke in a year and make fun of
them. Well, of course it's unfair. That's the point. But that doesn't
mean it's not fun. Or that the business of newspaper column writing
doesn't depend on that odd mix of unfairness and fun. So just be
quiet. And listen to some of the words that floated through the air
- "I'm not Mother Teresa." - boxer Mike Tyson. I knew that
without him saying it, although their initials are the same
- "He was giving me a good lesson on Missouri politics, as was Jim
Talent (the newly elected U.S. senator), when we drived over." -
President George W. Bush, speaking of Sen. Kit Bond at a feed mill in
Aurora, Mo., in January. No doubt one lesson on Missouri politics was
to pretend you know how to talk like some of the rural Missourians
who drived over to see you.
- "No, no, he's a friend of mine. He's not a moron at all." -
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, speaking of Bush. As for
compliments, in politics you take what you can get.
- "Armies run on their stomachs. Legislatures run on their egos."
- Kent Glasscock, speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives.
It's why armies often run out of steam long before legislatures do.
- "Armed with a platform of individual freedom, personal
responsibility and smaller government, the Libertarian Party is ready
to take on the big boys." - The Evening News of Jefferson, Ind.
Fine, but call us when it's also ready to take on the big girls.
- "I think dancing girls are really the way to go." - Carson Daly
of MTV talking about marketing baseball to a younger audience. Bad
idea. Within two years the average salary of dancing girls would be
$1.3 million, adding to upward pressure on ticket prices, which in
turn would force more young people out of the market.
- "What Would Jesus Drive?" - A question on a TV commercial aimed
at decreasing sales of SUVs. It is, however, easily the most inane,
absurd, balmy, frivolous, vacuous, fatuous, witless question of the
year. Heck, Jesus never even had a learner's permit.
- "I can't figure out how to introduce the captain without
panicking the passengers." - a Delta flight attendant talking about
pilot Mike Hyjek (pronounced "hijack"). She should be glad his
first name isn't Will.
- "The university is incapable of ordering blackboard erasers in
quantities of more than six without a committee." - President
Lawrence H. Summers of Harvard University. So? Just order five at a
time and get on with it.
- "Who would have guessed when we met 30 years ago that you'd end
up with an office in midtown and I'd have one in Harlem?" - Bill
Clinton, speaking to his confidante, Vernon Jordan. Office, no.
Girlfriend, well. . .
- "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for
president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of
the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these
problems over all these years, either." - Sen. Trent Lott, an
embarrassment even to Mississippi. Senator, I want to say this about
your state: Unlike you, many of the folks who live there have grown
into productive adulthood.
- "The students tore down the Berlin wall." - Gerica McCrary, 17,
a student, on Taylor County (Ga.) High School's first desegregated
prom last spring. In retrospect, it's too bad nobody thought to
invite Trent Lott.
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Reprinted by permission, The Kansas City Star, Copyright 2002. All rights reserved