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


  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

The Harder I Practice, the Luckier I Get

Gary Player? Arnold Palmer? Jerry Barber? Jack Youngblood? Lee Trevino? Ethel Merman? L. Frank Baum?

Dear Quote Investigator: I am a fan of the golfing legend Gary Player, and the Wikipedia article about him says he: “Coined one of the most quoted aphorisms of post-War sport”:

The harder you practice, the luckier you get.

Is that true? Which golfer said it first? Was it Arnold Palmer?

Quote Investigator: Gary Player is a very fine golfer, but he is not responsible for this well-known maxim. The best evidence that he did not coin the adage is in a book written by Player himself in 1962 where he credits the aphorism to fellow golfer Jerry Barber. Before discussing that book QI will review support for Player and some other claimants to the phrase. The earliest instance of the expression found by QI that uses the word “practice” is not from a golfer. It appears in a memoir published in 1961 by a soldier of fortune during the Cuban revolution.

The saying is a popular motto and different versions can be grouped together in a family that stretches back to before 1900. Here are some examples:

The harder I practice, the luckier I get
The more I practice, the luckier I get.
The more they put out, the more luck they have.
The harder he works, the luckier he gets.
The more you know, the more luck you have.

Continue reading The Harder I Practice, the Luckier I Get