Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck.
I’d say that in high school. I’d think it. I’d fear it. Poesy is itself an intimidating word. The lexicon is no more inviting: iambs, pentameter, feet, trochees, anapests. As a further discouragement, a deep understanding of meter yields little; overly metrical writing is annoying and provincial. That kind of language, that kind of rhythm, is so unnatural it’s become outmoded.
Or so I thought. As I worked on a Shakespeare project — I took apart the known works of Shakespeare and put them back together as a new play, All The World’s a Grave (it came out in 2008) — I was immersed in meter, which I realized isn’t so complicated after all, and is the firmament of not only poetry, but song lyrics and oratory.
TOP BEST SONG QUOTES, OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
The Eagles: Welcome to the Hotel California.
Aretha : All I’m asking for is a little respect.
Led Zeppelin: And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
Pat Benatar: Both of us knowing, love is a battlefield.
Missy Elliott: Put my thing down, flip it and reverse it.
Lauryn Hill: See you might win some but you just lost one.
Blondie: One way or another, I’m gonna find ya.
Janis Joplin: Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.
MC LYTE: When you say you love me, it doesn’t matter / It goes to my head as just chit-chatter.
GNARLS BARKLEY: Does that make me crazy? Probably.
FLEETWOOD MAC: Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
RUN DMC: My Adidas walk through concert doors / And roam all over coliseum floors.
JERRY LEE LEWIS: You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain.
REM: It’s the end of the world as we know it.
CARLY SIMON: I bet you think this song is about you.
QUEEN: Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
DESTINY’S CHILD: I’m a survivor, I’m gonna make it.
JOHNNY CASH: I fell into a burning ring of fire, / I went down down down and the flames went higher.
THE BEASTIE BOYS: You gotta fight for your right to party.
BOSTON: All I want is to have my peace of mind.
Top Best American History Quotes, Of Iambic Pentameter
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.
NEIL ARMSTRONG: One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
AMELIA EARHART: Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
MUHAMMAD ALI: I ain’t got no quarrel with no Viet Cong / no Viet Cong ever called me nigger.
MARGARET FULLER: Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.
JOHNNIE COCHRAN: If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.
MUHAMMAD ALI: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. / I am the greatest, Muhammad Ali.
RICHARD NIXON: I’ve earned every cent. I’m not a crook.
RONALD REAGAN: Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
HARRY S. TRUMAN: Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.
WOODROW WILSON: The world must be made safe for democracy.
TEDDY ROOSEVELT: Speak softly and carry a big stick.
BUCKMINSTER FULLER: Either war is obsolete or men are.
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: Do one thing every day that scares you.
CHIEF SEATTLE: There is no death. Only a change of worlds.
JUNE JORDAN: We are the ones we have been waiting for.
HORACE GREELY: Go West, young man, and grow up with the country.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU: Men have become the tools of their tools.
SPIRO AGNEW: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.
Oration and song lyrics are nearly poetry, so it wasn’t surprising to find meter there, but how poetically aware was Harry Truman when he advised against kicking hot turds? Or Ronald Reagan when he told Mr. Gorbachev what to do with his wall? Or The Beastie Boys as they fought for their right to party? Or, hmm, Oscar Mayer as it speculated upon the life as a wiener?
TOP BEST ADVERTISING SLOGANS, OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
U.S. ARMY: Be all that you can be in the Army.
GREY POUPON: Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?
OSCAR MAYER: If I were an Oscar Mayer wiener.
DR. PEPPER: Wouldn’t you like to be a pepper, too?
TIMEX: It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.
UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND: A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
SMOKEY THE BEAR: Only you can prevent forest fires.
CALVIN KLEIN: Know what comes between me and my Calvins?
RONALD REAGAN COMMERCIAL: It’s morning again in America.
DURACELL: It keeps going and going and going …
RICE-A-RONI: Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.
HALLMARK: When you care enough to send the very best.
E.F. HUTTON: When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.
REMINGTON SHAVERS: I liked it so much I bought the company.
MOUNDS AND ALMOND JOY: Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut, Sometimes You Don’t.
CARLSBERG: Probably the best lager in the world.
LUCKY STRIKE: Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.
BULOVA: America runs on Bulova time.
NEW YORK MAYOR JOHN LINDSAY: The Second Toughest Job in America.
CHEVROLET: Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.
And, um, what about, well, what about that prized utterance of Jessica Simpson?
“Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?”
The musing, so utterly Shakespearean, was indeed iambic pentameter — with the very slight and highly Shakespearean variations of a feminine ending and an inversion of the first two feet (contingent on the read).
X / X / / X / X / X /
Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?
Jessica’s delivery of the line, with her Americanized pronunciation of chicken, could also be rendered without the inversion, as in:
/ X / X / X / X / X /
Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?
Answering her own question, Jessica stated a fact — I know it’s tuna but it says chicken — and put extra stress on her American pronunciation of “chick’HEN” to round out a second line of iambic pentameter, this time with what’s called masculine ending, meaning the last syllable of the line is stressed. This question/fact construction, as well as the inverted emphasis on a repeated word, are also Shakespeare 101.
/ X / X / X / X / X
I know it’s tuna but it says chicken.
But, could it be that Jessica wasn’t thinking about Shakespeare? To Youtube the moment, it would seem that the line was totally spontaneous, totally unpremeditated. And if that’s the case, how did she originate such a beautiful couplet?
Could it be that poetry isn’t learned, that it comes naturally to us, in whole or in part, like breathing or walking? Was there other evidence out there? Were there more Jessica Simpsons? More lines of perfectly rendered, and perfectly unconscious poetry?
TOP BEST DUMB STUPID CELEBRITY QUOTES,
OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
MIKE TYSON: I’m gonna fade into Bolivian.
JESSICA SIMPSON: Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? / I know it’s tuna but it says chicken.
ALICIA SILVERSTONE: When I get lonely, I want to be alone.
PRINCE PHILIP TO AN ABORIGINAL BUSINESSMAN: Do you still throw spears at each other?
PARIS HILTON: What’s Walmart? Do they sell like wall stuff?
THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE: The internet is completely over.
JUSTIN BIEBER: I’m not going for the sixteenth chapel.
KANYE WEST: I keep it 300 like the Romans.
TARA REID: I’m sounding worse than Jessica Simpson / right now. She’s looking like a rock scientist.
JESSICA SIMPSON: I’m not anorexic. I’m from Texas.
JUSTIN BIEBER: Whatever they have in Korea, that’s bad.
SHERYL CROW: I propose a limitation be put / on how many squares of toilet paper / can be used in any one sitting.
TYRESE: Pandora, whoever you are!! Thank you!!
TOM CRUISE: You don’t even know what Ritalin is!
DONALD TRUMP: The worst thing a man can do is go bald.
CYNDI LAUPER: The ramifications of death are final.
LIAM GALLAGHER: It gets better and better being me.
BRYANT GUMBEL: It’s not that I dislike many people. / It’s just that I don’t like many people.
LIAM GALLAGHER: You’ve seen one of our gigs, you’ve seen ‘em all.
ALEX TREBEK: I’m curious about everything. / Even subjects that don’t interest me.
In the poetry world, the foot-in-the-mouth statements of public figures constitute something of a poetic category; the foolish stuff of famous people has generated as many poems as, well, if not love, certainly dogs. And counting syllable bears out the argument. The malapropisms are poetry.
TOP BEST DUMB STUPID POLITICIAN QUOTES,
OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
BILL CLINTON: It depends on how you define alone.
GEORGE BUSH: I think we agree, the past is over.
RICHARD NIXON: I’ve always wondered about the taping / equipment. But I’m damn glad we have it.
GEORGE BUSH: Can we win? I don’t think you can win it.
DAN QUAYLE: I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.
GEORGE BUSH: Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.
RICK PERRY: You can always follow me on Tweeter.
DAN QUAYLE: The future will be better tomorrow.
JOHN MCCAIN, ON HOW MANY HOUSES HE OWNED: I think — I’ll have my staff get to you.
SARAH PALIN: Polls are for strippers and cross-country skiers.
AL GORE: I have made good judgments in the future.
JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: This is Joementum here in New Hampshire.
GEORGE BUSH TO FEMA DIRECTOR MICHAEL BROWN: Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.
BOSTON MAYOR THOMAS MERINO, OF THE CITY’S PARKING CRISIS: It’s like an Alcatraz around my neck .
MITT ROMNEY: I love this state. The trees are the right height.
GEORGE BUSH: I’ve been in the Bible every day.
GOVERNOR WESLEY BOLIN: When we have problems, we can have troubles.
MAYOR MARION BARRY: I am clearly more popular than Reagan.
DONALD RUMSFELD: We know there are things we know we don’t know.
MITT ROMNEY, OFFERING TO BET RICK PERRY DURING TELEVISION PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: Ten thousand bucks? Ten thousand dollar bet?
TOP BEST DUMB STUPID SPORTS STAR QUOTES,
OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
JOE THEISMAN: Geniuses are guys like Norman Einstein.
TERRY BRADSHAW: I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.
KARL MALONE: I ain’t gonna be no escape-goat!
ANDRE DAWSON, ON BEING A ROLE MODEL: I want all the kids to copulate me.
DIZZY DEAN: The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing.
JERRY COLEMAN: Rich Folkers is throwing up in the bullpen.
STEVE FOSTER, ASKED BY A CANADIAN CUSTOMS AGENT IF HE HAD ANYTHING TO DECLARE: Sure. I’m proud to be an American.
JEFF INNIS, EXPLAINING NEWS PHOTO: That picture was taken out of context.
BILL COWHER: We’re not attempting to circumcise rules.
FRANK BRUNO: I was in a no-win situation, so I’m glad that I won rather than lost.
MAGIC JOHNSON, ON HOW WELL HE AND JAMES WORTHY WORK TOGETHER: It’s almost like we have ESPN.
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL, ON WHETHER OR NOT HE VISITED THE PARTHENON: I don’t remember what clubs we went to.
YOGI BERRA: It ain’t the heat. It’s the humility.
YOGI BERRA: Ninety percent of this game is half mental.
JOHNNY BENCH: I was thinking about making a comeback, until I pulled a muscle vacuuming.
DON KING: He speaks English, Spanish, and he’s bilingual.
MICKEY RIVERS, ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH YANKEES MANAGEMENT: Me, Billy and George are two of a kind.
CHANNING CROWDER, SPEAKING OF LONDON FLETCHER: He’s black, so I’m sure he’s not from London.
BILL PETERSON: You guys line up alphabetically by height.
WILLIAM “REFRIGERATOR” PERRY: I’ve been big ever since I was little.
TOP BEST TMI QUOTES, OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
JOHN LENNON ON THE POPULARITY OF THE BEATLES: We’re more popular than Jesus now.
MONICA LEWINSKY, GRAND JURY TESTIMONY: It could have been spinach dip or something.
BRITNEY SPEARS: OMG my pussy is hanging out.
TEXAS REPUBLICAN CLAYTON WILLIAMS ON RAPE: As long as it’s inevitable, / you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
MEL GIBSON: What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits?
BILL CLINTON: I didn’t like it, and I didn’t inhale.
TILA TEQUILA: I’m shooting a commercial for safe sex. / How ironic. Because I don’t have that.
BOB DYLAN ON PLAGIARISM: Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff.
JIMMY CARTER: I’ve committed adultery in my heart.
LINDA EVANGELISTA: It was God who made me so beautiful. / If I weren’t, then I’d be a teacher.
MICK JAGGER: Of course we’re doing it for the money. We have always done it for the money.
SNOOKI: Why did I wake up in a garbage can?
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER OF SPORTS OTTO JELINEK, AFTER RIDING THE LUGE: That’s what I call the ultimate laxative.
JOHNNY ROTTEN: I don’t listen to music. I hate music.
TORRIN POLK, OF HIS COACH: He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings.
DONALD TRUMP: The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.
DENISE RICHARDS: I am truly not one to give advice. / I’m divorced and I stole my best friend’s husband.
JOHNNY DEPP, ABOUT THE MEDIA: Well, you just feel like you’re being raped somehow.
KEANU REEVES: I am a meathead. I can’t help it, man. / You’ve got smart people and you’ve got dumb people.
HEIDI AND SPENCER PRATT: We’re the most famous people in the world.
The iamb, which is two beats, one emphasized, is often described as a heartbeat, da-DUM. A line of iambic pentameter is five such pairings, which are termed feet. At a very fundamental level, that is everything there is to know about meter, or rather, that is everything to know with the following qualification: meter is infinitely variable. An inversion of a foot (a trochee), for example, stresses the first syllable of the iamb, as in DA-dum. While an inverted foot is usually at the beginning of the line, it can appear anywhere, and several inverted feet are common. The feminine ending is equally common. In the case of a feminine ending (also called a weak ending), the line ends on beat that’s unstressed, as in: “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” or “To be or not to be, that is the question,” or “Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?” As you can see from the examples — Shakespeare and Simpson — the feminine ending often indicates uncertainty.
But the meter in Shakespeare, the “blank verse,” the line-after-line of iambic pentameter, isn’t the way we talk today. People back then were more sophisticated about language; they weren’t distracted by all the modern nonsense, and had time to refine their use of language. Or, that’s the argument. Shakespeare’s plays aren’t written exclusively in iambic pentameter. Prose in Elizabethan dialogue — the obvious tell is no line breaks — indicates class distinctions, or everyday speech. So, they didn’t talk in meter all the time. But I did find embedded lines of iambic pantameter within the prose. An example from The Winter’s Tale:
A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about with troll-my-dames;
I knew him once a servant of the prince:
I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his virtues it was,
but he was certainly whipped out of the court.
Prose, in Shakespeare, will often transition to metered language, whether as a heightening of a thought or theme or thread, or as a shift in pace, or as silliness, as in the case of the obviously rhymed couplet in Troilus and Cressida:
How now, how now! How go maidenheads?
Here, you maid! Where’s my cousin Cressid?
When I began to look for embedded iambic pentameter in contemporary language, I found it everywhere. A bedtime story:
I was born and raised in the briar patch,
born and raised in the briar patch, Brer Fox.
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
The bigger they come, the harder they fall.
Actually, Dorothy’s line is different in the movie. She says, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The popular memory of the line, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto,” is a better line. Our metrical inclination has revised the script to what it should have been. The metered line is what we remember, what we admire, what we celebrate.
TOP BEST MOVIE QUOTES,
OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
GONE WITH THE WIND: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
APOCALYPSE NOW: I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
THE GODFATHER: I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.
THE GRADUATE: Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.
THE JAZZ SINGER: Wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet.
WALL STREET: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.
DR. STRANGELOVE: You can’t fight in here — this is the war room.
SHE DONE HIM WRONG: Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?
AIRPLANE!: I am serious … and don’t call me Shirley.
ZERO DARK THIRTY: I’m the motherfucker who found the house.
TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT: You do know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? / You just put your lips together, and blow.
THE HUNGER GAMES: May the odds be ever in your favor.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI: That rug really tied the room together.
LOVE STORY: Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
STAR WARS: I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
THE HANGOVER: Tigers love pepper; they hate cinnamon.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.
AUSTIN POWERS: Get away from me you lazy-eyed psycho.
SUNSET BOULEVARD: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.
DIRTY DANCING: Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
TOP BEST TELEVISION QUOTES, OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
SANFORD & SON: I’m coming to join you Elizabeth!
THE HONEYMOONERS: One of these days Alice — pow! Straight to the Moon!
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!
THE TWILIGHT ZONE: You just crossed over into The Twilight Zone.
SEINFELD: Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
NEWHART: I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl.
SOUTH PARK: Oh my God, they killed Kenny! You bastards.
NIP / TUCK: Tell me what you don’t like about yourself.
SONS OF ANARCHY: I don’t recognize your bullshit MC.
I LOVE LUCY: Lucy, you’ve got some explaining to do.
POPEYE: That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.
PARKS AND RECREATION: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.
TODDLERS AND TIARAS: A dolla makes me holla, honey boo boo.
GIRLS ADVERTISEMENT: Almost getting it kind of together.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: That’s the way, buh-bye buh-bye, I like it.
PINKY AND THE BRAIN: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
THE SIMPSONS: You’re like a flower that grew out of dirt.
SEX IN THE CITY: I will wear whatever, and blow whomever / I want as long as I can breathe and kneel.
FUTURAMA: You’re better than normal. You’re abnormal.
FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL…: Lauren: I’ve had phone anal.
Jesse: You’ve had phanal?!
And everyday life? Meter is there too. On a long drive with the kids (5 and 8): “I was aiming onto the back porch roof; it was not going on the back porch roof”; “Duck is the one type of seafood she likes,” (of pet cat); “After we have lunch, we’re going fishing.” Or, their mom: “No you are not, you’re doing no such thing.”
Meter is how people make a point, in dialogue, in prose, in conversation, whatever. When we want it to stick — when we want to be funny or moving or intelligent, we elevate our language to poetry.
TOP BEST SCARY FRIGHTENING CHILLING QUOTES, OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, ON THE SUBJECT OF THE COLD WAR: The bombing will begin in five minutes.
ALEXANDER HAIG, SECRETARY OF STATE, AFTER PRESIDENT REAGAN WAS SHOT, UNAWARE THAT HE WAS FOURTH IN LINE FOR SUCCESSION: I am in control here. As of now / I am in control here in the White House.
ROBERT “BOBBY” KENNEDY, LAST WORDS: Oh no, oh no… don’t lift me, don’t lift me.
NOTORIOUS B.I.G.: You’re nobody ‘til somebody kills you.
ABBIE HOFFMAN, SUICIDE NOTE: We can’t win, they’ve gotten too powerful.
CHRISTINE O’DONNELL, ADVERTISEMENT: I’m not a witch. I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you.
2001: I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.
MITT ROMNEY: I’m not concerned about the very poor.
ROSEMARY’S BABY: What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs!
THE SHINING: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
DR. FRANKENSTEIN: Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive… IT’S ALIVE!
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: Well, Clarice … Have the lambs stopped screaming?
THE EXORCIST: What an excellent day for an exorcism.
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: A census taker once tried to test me. / I ate his liver with some fava beans / and a nice chianti, slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp.
RONALD REAGAN: I’m not worried about the deficit. / It’s big enough to take care of itself.
RONALD REAGAN: Trees cause more pollution than automobiles.
JOHN MCCAIN: You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran?
RONALD REAGAN: If you’ve seen one Redwood tree, you’ve seen them all.
GEORGE BUSH: You are either with us, or against us.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: The only way to reduce the number / of nuclear weapons is to use them.
So, Jessica Simpson’s free poetry, if trivial on first impression, gives evidence for one of the most significant cognitive revelations of the twentieth century; language and music, to a large degree, are innately structured, and shared by the global population of humanity. Poetry is something that we — all homo sapiens — hold in common. If the poets have been saying that all along of course — it somehow doesn’t feel like enough to tell them they’re right. Poetry is all the time, is every facet of our lives; it is with us when we are passionate, ridiculous, heartbroken. It is with us in high culture, and it is with us in pop culture. It is with us in our dreams and nightmares, our victories, our laughter, our regrets. And we are all poets and golliards, and keepers of the iamb, no matter if we mean to be or not.
TOP BEST 100 POPULAR QUOTES, OF IAMBIC PENTAMETER:
1. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last. — Martin Luther King
2. I’m gonna fade into Bolivian. — Mike Tyson
3. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. — Neil Armstrong
4. Adventure is worthwhile in itself. — Amelia Earhart
5. Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. — Gone With the Wind
6. Welcome to the Hotel California. — The Eagles
7. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
8. I ain’t got no quarrel with no Viet Cong / no Viet Cong ever called me nigger. — Muhammad Ali
9. All I’m asking for is a little respect. — Aretha Franklin
10. Be all that you can be in the Army. — U.S. Army
11. Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? / I know it’s tuna but it says chicken. — Jessica Simpson
12. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. — Apocalypse Now
13. One of these days Alice — pow! Straight to the Moon! — The Honeymooners
14. The bombing will begin in five minutes. — President Ronald Reagan, on the subject of the Cold War
15. We’re more popular than Jesus now. — John Lennon on the popularity of the Beatles
16. I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse. — The Godfather
17. Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night! — Saturday Night Live
18. Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon? — Grey Poupon
19. And she’s buying a stairway to heaven. — Led Zeppelin
20. Both of us knowing, love is a battlefield — Pat Benatar
21. If I were an Oscar Mayer wiener. — Oscar Mayer
22. You just crossed over into The Twilight Zone. — The Twilight Zone.
23. Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. — The Graduate
24. Today a reader, tomorrow a leader. ―Margaret Fuller
25. Put my thing down, flip it and reverse it. — Missy Elliot
26. It could have been spinach dip or something. — Monica Lewinsky, grand jury testimony
27. Wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet. — The Jazz Singer
28. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. — Johnnie Cochran
29. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. — Seinfeld
30. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. / I am the greatest, Muhammad Ali. — Muhammad Ali
31. I’ve earned every cent. I’m not a crook. — Richard Nixon
32. Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall. — Ronald Reagan
33. Wouldn’t you like to be a pepper, too? — Dr. Pepper
34. OMG my pussy is hanging out. — Britney Spears
35. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. — Wall Street
36. See you might win some but you just lost one. — Lauryn Hill
37. It takes a lickin’ but keeps on tickin’. — Timex
38. You can’t fight in here — this is the war room. — Dr. Strangelove
39. One way or another I’m gonna find ya. — Blondie
40. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. — United Negro College Fund
41. Why don’t you come up sometime and see me? — She Done Him Wrong
42. I am serious … and don’t call me Shirley. — Airplane!
43. Only you can prevent forest fires. — Smokey the Bear
44. Know what comes between me and my Calvins? — Calvin Klein
45. When I get lonely, I want to be alone. — Alicia Silverstone
46. Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. — Harry S. Truman
47. I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl. — Newhart
48. Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee. — Janis Joplin
49. It’s morning again in America. — Ronald Reagan commercial
50. I am in control here. As of now / I am in control here in the White House. — Alexander Haig, Secretary of State, after President Reagan was shot, unaware that he was fourth in the line of succession
51. It keeps going and going and going … — Duracell
52. Oh no, oh no… don’t lift me, don’t lift me. — Robert Bobby Kennedy, last words
53. I’m the motherfucker who found the house. — Zero Dark Thirty
54. You do know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? / You just put your lips together, and blow. — To Have and Have Not
55. Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat. — Rice-A-Roni
56. Do you still throw spears at each other? — Prince Philip to an Aboriginal businessman
57. You’re nobody ‘til somebody kills you. — Notorious B.I.G.
58. What’s Walmart? Do they sell like wall stuff? — Paris Hilton
59. Oh my God, they killed Kenny! You bastards. — South Park
60. We can’t win, they’ve gotten too powerful. — Abbie Hoffman, suicide note
61. When you say you love me, it doesn’t matter / It goes to my head as just chit-chatter. — MC Lyte
62. The internet is completely over. — The artist formerly known as Prince
63. May the odds be ever in your favor. — The Hunger Games
64. I’m not going for the sixteenth chapel. — Justin Bieber
65. As long as it’s inevitable, / you might as well lie back and enjoy it. — Texas Republican Clayton Williams on rape
66. I keep it 300 like the Romans. — Kanye West
67. When you care enough to send the very best. — Hallmark
68. I’m sounding worse than Jessica Simpson / right now. She’s looking like a rock scientist. — Tara Reid
69. I’m not anorexic. I’m from Texas. — Jessica Simpson
70. Whatever they have in Korea, that’s bad. — Justin Bieber
71. What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits? — Mel Gibson
72. I think we agree, the past is over. — George Bush
73. Geniuses are guys like Norman Einstein. — Joe Theisman
74. I didn’t like it, and I didn’t inhale. — Bill Clinton
75. The world must be made safe for democracy. — Woodrow Wilson
76. I’ve always wondered about the taping / equipment. But I’m damn glad we have it. — President Richard Nixon
77. Does that make me crazy? Probably. — Gnarls Barkley
78. Can we win? I don’t think you can win it. — George Bush
79. I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made. — Dan Quayle
80. When E. F. Hutton Talks, People Listen. — E.F. Hutton
81. I’m not a witch. I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you. — Christine O’Donnell advertisement
82. Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter. — George Bush
83. I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that. — 2001
84. I’m not concerned about the very poor. — Mitt Romney
85. I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid. — Terry Bradshaw
86. I’m shooting a commercial for safe sex. / How ironic. Because I don’t have that. — Tila Tequila
87. What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs! — Rosemary’s Baby
88. I ain’t gonna be no escape-goat! — Karl Malone
89. You can always follow me on Tweeter. — Rick Perry
90. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. — Bob Dylan on plagiarism
91. The future will be better tomorrow. — Dan Quayle
92. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. — The Shining
93. Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive…IT’S ALIVE! — Dr. Frankenstein
94. I want all the kids to copulate me. — Andre Dawson, on being a role model
95. I’ve committed adultery in my heart. — Jimmy Carter
96. It was God who made me so beautiful. / If I weren’t, then I’d be a teacher. — Linda Evangelista
97. The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing. — Dizzy Dean
98. Well, Clarice … Have the lambs stopped screaming? — Silence of the Lambs
99. I think — I’ll have my staff get to you. — John McCain, on how many houses he owned
100. That rug really tied the room together. — The Big Lebowski
Henry Fuseli and George Cruikshank images courtesy Folger Library.