Every December, I like to read the various lists of the “top,” “best” and “worst” quotes of the year that are posted online and published in magazines and newspapers.
The most widely read is the annual “Most Notable Quotes” list selected by Yale Law School librarian Fred Shapiro, editor of The Yale Book of Quotations (a must-have reference book for any quotation buff).
Each year, his list is sent out by the Associated Press news service and published by hundreds of newspapers and websites.
The quotes Fred selects are not necessarily the most repeated quotes of the year. He uses his judgment to pick the quotes he also thinks are worthy of note because they “reflect the culture of our time.”
Fred explains that “often it’s quotes that are not admirable but quotes that are silly or negative in some way. In our current world political scene, the United States maybe dominates that kind of quotation.”
Shapiro’s top ten quotes of 2018 are not all quotes by Donald Trump. In fact, only one is, and it’s not Number 1. But six quotes are related to Trump and Shapiro’s pick for the top slot was said by someone who represents the President. Here are all ten…
1. “Truth isn’t truth.” — Rudy Giuliani, in an interview on Meet the Press, August 19. He was discussing why he won’t let special counsel Robert Mueller rush Trump into testifying. Giuliani said he doesn’t want investigators to trap the President into a lie. “Truth is truth,” NBC’s Chuck Todd noted to him. “No, no, it isn’t truth,” Giuliani said. “Truth isn’t truth. The President of the United States says, ’I didn’t …’” Todd responded: “Truth isn’t truth? Mr. Mayor, do you realize, what…I think this is going to become a bad meme.”
2. “I liked beer. I still like beer.” — Brett Kavanaugh, remark on September 27, defending himself against suggestions that he drank too much in high school, during the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court. The lines quickly became a subject of jokes on Saturday Night Live and other comedy shows, political cartoons and social media sites.
3. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” — A Twitter tweet posted on May 30 by the Sanofi drug company, in response to Roseanne Barr’s claim that Sanofi’s sleep drug Ambien caused her to post a racist tweet that led her to be fired from the revived version of her show, Roseanne.
4. “We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.” — Meghan McCain, in her eulogy for her father, Senator John McCain, on September 1. It was clearly a barb aimed at President Trump, who had publicly insulted Sen. McCain on multiple occasions.
5. “We’re children. You guys, like, are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together, come over your politics and get something done.” — David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, in a CNN interview, February 15.
6. “(I am) not smart, but genius.…and a very stable genius at that!” — President Donald Trump, in a tweet on January 6 that immediately turned “a very stable genius” into a new catchphrase and source of jokes.
7. “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone.” — Kanye West, in a tweet on April 25, expressing his continued support for Donald Trump, despite the intense negative reactions it attracted.
8. “Our country is led by those who will lie about anything, backed by those who will believe anything, based on information from media sources that will say anything.” — James Comey, in a tweet on May 23, after being fired from his position as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by President Trump for not stopping the Mueller investigation of Trump’s possible collusion with Russia and violations of US campaign and business laws.
9. “I have just signed your death warrant.” — Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, addressing former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar on January 24, after she sentenced him to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assaults of young athletes.
10. “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd! And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” — Rep. Maxine Waters. A controversial remark she made at a political rally in Los Angeles on June 23, suggesting that angry Democrats should harass Trump Administration officials when they see them in public places.
Of those ten quotes, I suspect only #1, #2 and #6 are likely to be widely cited for a significant length of time. They are the ones that were most frequently reposted and mocked on the internet and late night comedy shows.
Naturally, there are online lists that focus solely on controversial things President Trump said or tweeted in 2018.
For example, Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large compiled an annotated list of “The 41 Most Unreal Donald Trump Quotes of 2018.”
Trump’s “very stable genius” quip is not Number 1 on Cillizza’s list. For his top slot, he picked another Trump quotation that made Trump haters’ heads spin: “The country is doing well in so many ways. But there’s such divisiveness.”
Cillizza commented: “What’s amazing here is that Trump seems entirely unaware of the role he has played in the country’s divisiveness. That’s not to say we weren’t divided before 2016 – we were – but it is to say that Trump exacerbated those divisions for political gain, and continues to do so.”
On the other end of the political commentary spectrum, Fox News commentator Dan Gainor posted a list titled “Hating Trump in 2018: the Top Five Most Incredible Liberal Media Quotes of the Year.”
Gainor’s top pick for that list was a remark by CNN news commentator Don Lemon in which Lemon appeared to rationalize violence by the so-called Antifa: “It says it right in the name, Antifa, Anti-Fascism, which is what they’re fighting. Listen…no organization is perfect. There is some violence. No one condones the violence. But there are different reasons for Antifa and for these neo-Nazis to be there. One, racists, fascists, the other group fighting racists…There is a distinction there.”
Gainor said of this quote by Lemon: “When you say ‘No one condones the violence’ followed by the word ‘but’ you are the one condoning the violence.”
Whether you’re a Trump lover or a Trump hater, if you want a fairly comprehensive list of Trump’s most widely-noted quotes in the form of tweets, check out the list compiled by CNBC journalist Kevin Breuninger, titled “Trump’s most memorable Twitter bombshells of 2018.”
That list is ordered by date and kicks off with Trump’s “my Button works” quote. That one was the President’s response when he heard that North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un had claimed the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.”
If you think CNBC is a “fake news” outlet, you can read a similar list on the Trump-friendly Breitbart News site, titled “Top Donald Trump ‘Very Stable Genius’ Tweets of 2018.”
Ironically, that list is almost the same as CNBC’s.
The year 2018 wasn’t a good one for new famous quotes outside of the political arena. Take movies, for example.
Some years are great for memorable movie quotes that become catchphrases. 2018 was not. I could only find a few lists of top movie quotes for the year and I doubt if any of the quotes they include will ever be added to the lists of the top movie quotes of all time.
However, if you’re a movie quote fan like me, it’s interesting to check out the list of 44 movie lines dubbed “Best Movie Quotes 2018” on the Movie Quotes and More site
and the list of “The 12 Best Lines Of Movie Dialogue In 2018” on the Cinema Blend site.
There are two quotes that showed up on both of those lists.
One is “It’s fucking Chucky!” That’s a line said by the character Sixer #6 in the movie Ready Player One when he sees an image of the killer doll from the Chucky horror movie series. I’ll be surprised if anyone is citing that quote years from now, the way people still quote classic lines, like “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” or “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” But I could be wrong.
The other quote on both lists is more interesting. It’s a quote spoken by actor Rami Malek in his highly praised role as Freddie Mercury, front man for the band Queen, in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody.
“We’re four misfits who don’t belong together. We’re playing for other misfits,” he says when a journalist asks what makes Queen different from other rock bands. “They’re the outcasts right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.”
There didn’t seem to be any big new TV catchphrases in 2018. But I did find one entertaining list of TV quotes of the year on the TVLine.com site.
It’s titled “Best TV Quotes of 2018” and it’s one of those lists you have to scroll through. But it’s actually a pretty good, well documented list, with photos.
None seem likely to become sticky pop culture sayings, but the list is fun to read.
Naturally, some have a connection to President Trump. In the “Hamilton/Berg” episode of the show The Last Man on Earth, the character Cannibal Karl (played by Fred Armisen) suggests that not all people eaters are bad, saying “Good people on both sides.”
That, of course, is a humorous variation of President Trump’s infamous comment that there “were very fine people on both sides” in the clash between white supremacists and alt-left anti-fascists in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.
In the episode, “Let the Good Times Roll,” first aired in May 2018, the alternate universe version of the character Bobby Singer (actor Jim Beaver) is shocked at some of the things he sees in the news on TV. The main characters of the show, brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, had previously referred to the world alt-Bobby comes from as “Apocalypse World.”
Remembering that, Alt-Bobby quips: “Let me get this right: The ice caps are melting, a movie where a girl goes all the way with a fish wins Best Picture, and that damn fool idjit from The Apprentice is president…And you call where we come from Apocalypse World?”
It wasn’t that many years ago that memes became a big thing on the internet. Apparently they still are and I found several lists of 2018 memes.
As explained on the DailyDot.com site: “It seems like every user puts their own spin on the meme’s wording, but they all express some variation of, ‘You guys are scared to moan during sex? I’m in my girl’s ear like…’ followed by a short video of some animal or human making a hilarious noise.”
I looked for lists of quotes from other realms and found quite a few; many of them very nichey.
For example, on various special interest sites, you can read:
One of the most amusing compilations of 2018 quotes I saw is a YouTube video posted by a young comedian named Alonzo Lerone, on his “Get a Dictionary” channel.
Alonzo specializes in reading Internet posts and comments that are full of typos, misused words, and bad grammar.
In his YouTube post “TOP 50 Funniest Senior Quotes of 2018,” he reads the things some graduating high school seniors picked as the “Senior Quote” to be shown in their school yearbook.
I have no idea where he found them all, but he cracks himself up reading them. And, I gotta admit, even though none of them are memorable quotes that will be posted and reposted on the internet or included in books of famous quotations, it cracked me up to hear Alonzo read them.
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Related reading – and some daily quotation calendars for 2019…