Category Archives: Mel Brooks

“The Peasants Are Revolting” “You Can Say That Again”

Brant Parker? Johnny Hart? L. Frank Baum? Walt Kelly? Allan Sherman? Mel Brooks? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: I vaguely recall seeing a comic strip with a clever joke based on two different senses of the word “revolting”. An advisor warned a monarch about an uprising, and he replied acerbically:

Advisor: The peasants are revolting.
Monarch: Yes, they are appalling, but I love them anyway.

Would you please explore the history of this wordplay?

Quote Investigator: With the publication of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 1900 L. Frank Baum initiated a beloved fantasy series. The 1904 sequel was titled “The Marvelous Land of Oz: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman”. During one episode in the book a character named General Jinjur led an army of young women with the goal of capturing the Emerald City. Baum included an instance of the wordplay. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

“Still, you must surrender!” exclaimed the General, fiercely. “We are revolting!”

“You don’t look it,” said the Guardian, gazing from one to another, admiringly.

“But we are!” cried Jinjur, stamping her foot, impatiently; “and we mean to conquer the Emerald City!”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. 1904, The Marvelous Land of Oz: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman by L. Frank Baum, Quote Page 92, The Reilly and Britton Company, Chicago, Illinois. (Google Books Full View) link