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:
“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
Wizard of Id? Jafar? Brant Parker? Johnny Hart? Dick Boland? Jack Caprio? Jesse Jackson? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: The Golden Rule is a famous ethical principle that can be stated as follows:
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Several different lampoons and parodies have been constructed based on this moral directive. I am interested in the origin of the following spoof version:
The person who has the gold makes the rules.
Do you know who crafted this mordant remark?
Quote Investigator: In 1964 the comic strip “Wizard of Id” was launched with Johnny Hart as the primary writer and Brant Parker as the primary illustrator. On May 3, 1965 a four-panel strip presenting the satirical golden rule was published in “The Dallas Morning News” and many other newspapers.
In the first panel the diminutive tyrannical King character addressed his subjects from the balcony of his castle and emphasized the need for “peace and harmony”. In the second panel the King continued by stating “We must all live by The Golden Rule”. This caused some confusion in the third panel because his listeners were uncertain about the nature of The Golden Rule. In the fourth panel the troubadour character delivered the explanatory punchline. Boldface has been added to excerpts:
Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
This comic strip contained the earliest evidence of the joke located by QI.
This article continues with additional details and selected citations in chronological order.