It was the plea heard round the world. "Don't tase me, bro" — as officers removed him from a speech by Sen. John Kerry — tops this year's list of most memorable quotes, compiled by the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations.
Second on the list is a quote from Lauren Upton, the Miss Teen USA contestant who gave a response to a question about why one-fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a map.
"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us," Upton said.
Upton later apologized for her answer not making a lot of sense.
The words of both young people were immortalized in videos posted on YouTube, the video-sharing Web site.
"These new media are spreading these things," said editor Fred R. Shapiro, 53, associate librarian and lecturer in legal research at the Yale Law School. "I'm not listing the most admirable quotes, the most eloquent quotes. It's the most memorable quotes."
Shapiro released his Yale Book of Quotations last year after six years of research. It contains about 13,000 quotes, each extensively researched to verify its origin.
He expects to add roughly 1,000 more quotes — mostly modern — for the next edition in about five years, and in the meantime he plans to keep issuing annual top 10 lists.
He relies on suggestions from quote-watchers throughout the world, plus his own choices from songs, the news and movies, and then searches dababases and the Internet to determine the popularity of the quotes.
In the case of "Don't tase me, bro" — uttered shortly before the student was shocked with a Taser — he discovered the phrase was even printed on T-shirts and used as a cell phone ring tone.
"It's not Shakespeare, but there is a kind of folk eloquence in that. It wouldn't be a quote if he didn't say 'bro,'" Shapiro said. "That had just the right rhythm to make it memorable."
Third was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's October comment at Columbia University in New York, "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."
Shapiro said he struggled before deciding to include radio personality Don Imus' "nappy-headed hos" comment about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. The quote ended up fourth on his list.
"My book does mix the most eloquent and magnificent quotes with the sordid and sleazy materials from recent times. There are some real jarring juxtapositions there," he said. "I wanted to include the whole culture — the high and the low, the old and the new."
Imus created a national outcry and lost his job at CBS radio in April, but returned to the airwaves in December with Citadel Broadcasting.
‘Don’t recall’ these memorable moments?
Other phrases on the list:
5. "I don't recall." — Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' repeated response to questioning at a congressional hearing about the firing of U.S. attorneys.
6. "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11." — Sen. Joseph Biden, speaking at a Democratic presidential debate, in reference to Republican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
7. "I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody (Vice President Dick Cheney) who has a 9 percent approval rating." — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.
8. "(I have) a wide stance when going to the bathroom." — Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig's explanation of why his foot touched that of an undercover policeman in a men's room.
9. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." — Biden describing rival Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
10. "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history." — Former President Jimmy Carter in an interview in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper.