- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 2004

The realm of notable quotes has expanded, according to the newly updated Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Important things are said, apparently, in all sorts of places.

The 1,139-page reference book lists the following official categories: prayers, political slogans and songs, film titles, last words, epitaphs, telegrams, film credits, toasts, mottoes, advertising slogans, misquotations, newspaper headlines, opening lines, closing lines, official advice, catchphrases and military slogans.

Such things were thrown into the “anonymous” category in the previous five editions, which were published beginning in 1941.

The editors seem to be lightening up.

“The world of quotations is a kaleidoscopic one,” Britain-based editor Elizabeth Knowles noted in the volume’s introduction.

Some readers may fear that “the inclusion of topical or ephemeral material is somehow likely to devalue an adjacent quotation from classical literature,” she said. “We still need to remember that we are publishing for our own times.”

The new Oxford dictionary gives Americana a stab in several sections.

“It’s morning again in America,” — a saying from President Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign — is cited under political slogans, which was “coined by Hal Riney” in the Aug. 6 Newsweek magazine that year, the passage explained.

Yes, Bill Clinton’s 1992 motto “It’s the economy, stupid” is listed — and attributed to James Carville — as is Lyndon B. Johnson’s “All the Way with LBJ” from 1964 and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “I Like Ike” from 1952.

Famous last words of 78 persons warrant their own category.

Todd Beamer, who perished onboard hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, is noted for “Let’s roll,” overheard by a cell phone operator when Mr. Beamer and other passengers tried to regain control of the aircraft. The two words grew into a nationwide slogan of resolve after the attacks.

The dictionary also lists 50 noteworthy epitaphs — from Benjamin Franklin to Groucho Marx, Martin Luther King, Bette Davis and an American squirrel that died in 1772.

Franklin himself noted the critter’s epitaph in his own personal papers that year:

“Here Skugg … Lies snug … As a bug … in a rug.”

And Hollywood esoterica is a gold mine for quotations.

The dictionary includes 53 lines from movies, including “King Kong,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Forrest Gump.” Certain film titles were deemed of importance; the dictionary includes 13 of them in their own section.

Misquotations have cultural cache as well. The dictionary cites 44 of historic merit.

The phrase “Me Tarzan, you Jane” never was included in Edgar Rice Burrough’s original book, or any of the “Tarzan” movies for that matter.

It was actor and swimming champion Johnny Weismuller — who played the original Tarzan in the first film — who uttered the famous phrase in 1932 after Photoplay magazine asked him to sum up his role in the movie.

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