It has been a vintage year. The collected wisdom of the wise, the rich, the powerful, the non-entities. The best of the best:
“Get me a half-dozen Ontarians who put their feet to the Quebec flag, and I’ve got it.”
—Jacques Parizeau, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“I can’t really remember the names of the clubs we went to. ”
—American pro basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal, when asked if he visited the Parthenon during a trip to Greece.
“He was unpleasant, untrustworthy, self-centred, self-obsessed, deceitful, conceited, greedy, authoritarian, reckless, irresponsible and morally dishonest, but not, to my knowledge, involved in anything criminal. ”
—Andy McSmith, former press aide to the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, when asked: “Did you know he was a crook?”
—Matilda Crabtree, 14-year-old Louisiana girl, seconds before being fatally shot by her father, he mistaking her surprise greeting for a burglar’s attack as he and his wife arrived home from dinner.
“Evil is always with us and you can’t let it multiply.”
—Margaret Thatcher, speaking to a Dallas benefit luncheon, after ignoring reporters’ questions about her son, who has been accused of making $20 million on an arms deal signed by her.
“It was a real sort of Southern deal.
I had Astroturf in the back. You don’t want to know why, but I did.”
—Bill Clinton, remembering an El Camino pickup truck he once owned, while visiting a General Motors plant in Louisiana.
“If I could be the ‘condom queen’ and get every young person who is engaging in sex to use a condom in the United States,
I would wear a crown on my head with a condom on it. I would!’
—U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, later fired for saying masturbation “perhaps” should be taught in schools.
“It is extremely regrettable that such a thing happened.”
—the Japanese government, explaining for the first time how it had sent a declaration of war to the United States 25 minutes before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor but since lowly typists were banned from seeing sensitive documents, Embassy First Secretary Katsuzo Okumura in Washington, arriving late for work, was struggling with a typewriter trying to produce a mistake-free version of Tokyo’s intentions.
“I carried my luggage back there. It wasn’t for what everybody thought it was for when I made the comment... I’m guilty of a lot of things, but I didn’t ever do that.”
—Bill Clinton, explaining the Astroturf in the back of his pickup truck.
“As long as it’s hot and wet and goes down the right way, it’s fine with me.”
—Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, on tea.
“It hurts me, because they were private pictures and the person that is doing it apparently is only in it for the money and for greed.”
—Paula Jones, who is suing Bill Clinton on sexual harassment charges, on seminude pictures of her to be published in the January Penthouse.
“The problem with AIDS is: you got it, you die.
So why are we spending money on the issue?”
—Montana Lt.-Gov. Dennis Rehberg, discussing state budget cuts for hospitals.
“Who will give something to bring about a situation such as this—that all human beings will live in peace, will not murder and will not covet the land of one’s neighbor?”
—Baruch Goldstein, who massacred dozens of Arabs at prayer in the West Bank city of Hebron, in a school essay written in 1970.
‘You are not a gentleman.”
—Accused Nazi war crimi• nal Erich Priebke, after ABC’s Sam Donaldson tracked him down in Argentina and said: “Some people think you should die for your crimes.” You gotta love any movie where the heroine is named Pussy Galore.”
—Sam Donaldson, explaining his choice of Goldfinger in a Washington poll of celebrities’ favorite films.
“People complain because they poop. Well, you know, we all have to do that, and they were here first.”
—Lori Beck, resident of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., where 35 residents petitioned the town to remove a flock of 8,000 free-roaming peacocks.
“If you’re given a g choice between money % and sex appeal, take the £ money. As you get older,
2 the money will become your sex appeal.”
“A life is more valuable than a penis.” —lawyer Lisa Kemler, defending Lorena Bobbitt in a court address.
“I’m not looking for hermits. We would be very suspicious of a Rip Van Winkle who awoke just yesterday and has no knowledge of the case.”
—Judge Lance Ito, explaining that knowing about the O. J. Simpson case would not disqualify prospective jurors.
“If they were violating any other rules, like sitting on a subway bench topless, smoking a cigarette, then we would take action.”
—New York City police spokesman AÍ O’Leary, on the ruling that women may ride the city’s subways bare-chested as long as they don’t create a “disruptive or dangerous” situation.
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