June 28, 2013

“Go ahead, make my day.”


“Go ahead, make my day.”
       Clint Eastwood
       American actor, director and producer
       His legendary quote as the tough police officer “Dirty Harry” Callahan, in the film Sudden Impact (1983) 
       Harry utters these words in an early scene in the movie, during which he thwarts the attempted robbery of a restaurant by four armed thugs. He shoots and kills three of the would-be robbers and wounds another. The wounded thug grabs a waitress and points a gun at her head, thinking it will make Harry back off and let him escape. Harry calmly points his big .44 Magnum pistol at the thug and says: “Go ahead, make my day.” It clearly implies that Harry would enjoy killing him, too, if the thug provided an excuse by continuing to threaten the waitress. After pondering the remark and the steely look on Harry’s face, the thug drops his gun and surrenders.
       The huge popularity of Sudden Impact made “Go ahead, make my day” a world famous catchphrase that has been used ever since, usually as a sarcastic taunt. One of the most noted uses was by President Ronald Reagan, who said in a speech on March 13, 1985: “I have my veto pen drawn and ready for any tax increase that Congress might even think of sending up. And I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers: Go ahead, make my day.”
       Saying that something “made my/his/her day” — either as expression of true happiness or as a sardonic way of indicating displeasure — predates Sudden Impact. “Go ahead, make my day” was probably also used occasionally before 1983. But the movie made it a common, oft-heard idiom. Many sources attribute the inclusion of the line in Sudden Impact to Charles B. Pierce, who received a “story by” credit in the film. Pierce claimed he adapted it from a warning his father gave him frequently when he was growing up.


“Clint Eastwood: Go ahead, make my gay friends happy by allowing them to get married.”
       Headline for a story posted on the Conservative website DailyCaller.com on Feb. 28, 2013
       This snarky post lamented the fact that Eastwood was one of dozens of prominent Republicans who signed a legal brief urging the US Supreme Court to strike down Prop 8, the California ballot initiative that banned gay marriage, and affirm that marriage is a basic matter of equal rights under the US Constitution. In a landmark decision issued on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court did just that, making it a banner day for all people who supported marriage equality.  
       Eastwood eloquently expressed his personal views on same sex marriage and people who opposed it in an interview published in the October 2011 issue of GQ magazine. He told GQ: “These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of...They go on and on with all this bullshit about ‘sanctity’— don't give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”


“Go ahead, make me gay.”
       The catchphrase of “Flirty Harry”
       Flirty Harry, originally a minor character in The Underground Comedy Movie (1999), was resurrected and made a lead character in the more recent film, InAPPropriate Comedy (2013), both of which were directed by comedian Vince Offer.
       Offer played Harry in The Underground Comedy Movie. Actor Adrien Brody is Harry in InAPPropriate Comedy.
       Both films were panned by critics and bombed at the box office.


“Go ahead, make my dinner!”
       An icanhascheezburger.com version featuring the world’s toughest chef, Gordon Ramsay.

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June 15, 2013

“Give me liberty or give me death!” – or maybe a tax exemption, immortality, a Benz, or beer…


“Give me liberty or give me death!”
       Attributed to Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
       American attorney, politician and Founding Father
       According to tradition, Henry said these words at the end of a speech he made in the Virginia House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775.
       It’s true that, on that date, Henry gave an impassioned speech in favor of mobilizing the Virginia militia to fight against the British at a meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses. But neither Henry nor anyone else wrote down what he said at the time. Forty-two years later, a posthumous biography of Henry included a “reconstructed” version of the speech, based largely on the recollection of one aging judge who’d heard it. This popular biography, written by William Wirt, was the first source to put “Give me liberty or give me death!” in Henry’s mouth. It made the quote legendary and many books and websites have republished Wirt’s recreation of the speech as if it were an actual contemporary recording of what Henry said. Modern quote scholars like Fred Shapiro, editor of The Yale Book of Quotations, and Ralph Keyes, author of The Quote Verifier, view Wirt’s version of Henry’s speech with skepticism and doubt that Henry actually uttered his famous alleged quotation. (For more background, see this post on my This Day in Quotes site.)


“Give me tax exempt 501(c)4 or give me death!”
      Matt Davies
       Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for Tribune Media Services and The Hearst Newspaper Group
       Caption of a June 2013 political cartoon by Davies lampooning the outrage of conservative Republicans over revelations that the IRS had challenged requests of Tea Party groups who wanted the tax exempt status supposedly reserved for organizations that are “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”


“Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death”
       The Firesign Theatre
       American comedy troupe
       Title of a Firesign album title released in 1998 by Rhino Records


“Give Me Hush Money Or Give Me Benz!!”
       Headline of a TMZ.com story about basketball star Stephon Marbury and Thurayyah Mitchell, “the personal chef he boinked, while he was married, back in 2006.”
       According to the story, Marbury had promised to pay Mitchell $900,000 to keep quiet about the affair, but stopped making payments around the $600,000 mark. Mitchell took him to court and a judge ordered him to pony up the remaining $331,584.50. When Mitchell didn’t pay up in a timely fashion, Mitchell went back to court, asking that Marbury be forced to give her his Mercedes-Benz and other assets to settle the debt.


“Americans don’t like wine. We like beer. Ice cold. Ice cold, best in a bottle, but find in any way you can get it, belching, burping, wake-up-in-a-pool-of-it beer. So let’s show them...Let’s strike a blow anywhere they dine alfresco, anywhere they eat Brie cheese, and anywhere they wear their pants up high around their waist in the European way. The only thing Americans understand is mindless Tom and Jerry cartoon violence. So, let’s go kick some elite butt. Give me beer, or give me death!”
       Al Bundy (played by actor Ed O’Neill) 
       Part of a speech Al gives in the “Chicago Wine Party” episode of the American comedy TV show Married with Children (Season 7, Ep. 7, Nov. 1, 1992)
       In this episode, he makes the speech to a group of fellow beer fans who oppose a City Council plan to increase the local tax on beer but not on wine.

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