Friday, August 24, 2007

Me fail English? That's unpossible

Oxford Dictionary Until now, he's probably been best-known for one memorably straight-to-the-point quote - "D'oh!" But today, we can hail Homer Simpson as he takes his place in the pantheon of the world's greatest word-weavers. For the loveable slob from Springfield has secured himself not one, but two listings in the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations. The honour of appearing alongside golden-tongued literary luminaries including Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde would probably sail straight over the yellow head of the pot-bellied hero who heads America's most dysfunctional family in the celebrated cartoon series. But in fact it is more of a tribute to Simpsons creator Matt Groening and his talented team. It was Groening's scriptwriters who had Homer utter the immortal phrase: "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try." It appeared in an episode entitled Burns' Heir, written by Jack Richdale in 1994. Another to appear in the dictionary - which is published today - is Homer's homily to the local Asian shopkeeper: "Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the internet and all." Both quotations appear under the entry for 53-year-old Groening, who is classified by the compilers as an American humorist and satirist. Homer is not, however, the first character from The Simpsons to find a place in the respected dictionary. Already there is the much-repeated reference to the French by Scottish caretaker Groundskeeper Willie, who remarked: "Bonjour, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys" in a 1995 episode. And Homer's son Bart has entered the hall of fame under a special catchphrase category for his "Eat my shorts!" and "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" From the mouth of Joan Collins there is an insight into love with the utterance: "Older men treat women like possessions, which is why I like younger men." Other first-timers include Linda McCartney ("I don't eat anything with a face."), Yves Saint Laurent ("I wish I had invented blue jeans."), and O J Simpson ("Fame vaporises, money goes with the wind, and all that's left is character.")
Our personal fave, though, is William Hague's inspired comment to John Prescott, broadsiding the battling former deputy PM with: "There was so little English in that answer that President Chirac would have been happy with it.Meanwhile, Stephen Fry gives a take on modern life with the observation that, "The e-mail of the species is deadlier than the mail". And there is a rather double-edged comment on the love of money contained in the quote from fallen media tycoon Conrad Black: "Since when was greed a criminal offence?" (from mail)

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