It’s easy to describe “Say What?” It’s a collection of almost 700 statements—offered by politicians, world leaders, celebrities, athletes, etc.—that would have been better left unsaid. Some of the quotes probably qualify for inclusion in Failure’s collection of failure quotes; others are somewhat endearing, like the handful of entries that come courtesy of the late Yogi Berra.
To be sure, the most recognizable quotes come from the world of politics. Geographically-challenged former U.S. vice president Dan Quayle is well represented, for example. Consider gems like: “I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix,” and “It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.”
Of course, every quote book must include a quote or three from the so-called English Patient, former president George W. Bush. My favorite is: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
George W.’s wife Barbara also makes an appearance, courtesy of her infamous statement about the people who found shelter in sports arenas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: “So many of the people in the arenas here were under-privileged anyway. This is working very well for them,” she said.
Not surprisingly, many of the quotes can be chalked up to stupidity or ignorance. Consider President Donald Trump’s statement: “It’s freezing and snowing in New York—we need global warming!” And then there’s “The sun has been there for 500, 600 years,” which was uttered by former major league baseball player, Mike Cameron.
Lies—or references to lying are also common. Recall when Kellyanne Conway said, “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving—Sean Spicer, our press secretary—gave alternative facts.” Then there’s an Adolf Hitler quote that seems particularly apropos today: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
Finally, one last bit of absurdity—and the only quote that appears in the book twice—comes courtesy of Trump, who issued the following proclamation on Twitter in 2013: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest—and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”