1044: Romney Quiz

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Romney Quiz
Charlie actually delivered the Medicare line almost verbatim in the 1971 movie's Fizzy Lifting Drink scene, but it was ultimately cut from the final release.
Title text: Charlie actually delivered the Medicare line almost verbatim in the 1971 movie's Fizzy Lifting Drink scene, but it was ultimately cut from the final release.


This comic satirizes "either/or" quizzes seen on websites such as mentalfloss.com. These quizzes normally have an element of challenge by presenting tonally similar quotes, such as "Who Said It: Ted Nugent or Cartman from South Park?". The two people are generally chosen carefully to fulfill a particular role, for example:

  • Polar opposites - Republican vs Democrat, for vs against abortions, Christian vs Atheist
  • Real vs fictional
  • Politician/Celebrity vs villain - George Bush vs Hitler, Nigel Farage vs Ku Klux Klan, Obama vs Lucifer

In each case the idea is usually to surprise the reader with the fact that the quotes are difficult to tell apart, with the implied "conclusion" that person A is essentially indistinguishable from person B. In some cases the quizzes may be used as a tool to portray a particular person or group in a certain way, or alternatively may be light-hearted jest.

Mitt Romney was the Republican candidate for President of the United States (officially declared presumptive nominee on April 25, 2012, one week after this comic) during the 2012 US presidential election and, as it says above, the former Governor of Massachusetts. During the election, Mad Magazine published a popular article (volume 2) which compared quotes from Romney with quotes from the Simpsons villain Montgomery Burns, the implication being that like Burns, Romney was a corrupt out-of-touch plutocrat and had similar views and affectations. In this comic, Burns is substituted with Charlie Bucket, the main character of the 1964 Roald Dahl children's novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, adapted to film in 1971 as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

The joke here is that the two categories of quotes are not at all similar, and thus are very easy to attribute. Where the question "Is there even a difference?" usually implies some kind of political satire, in this case the point of the quiz appears to be lost, leading to a situation of bewilderment for the reader.

The answers, which are given upside down so that the reader has a chance to complete the quiz before checking their work, are all correct.

The title text refers to a Romney comment on Medicare, a national program launched in 1965 to provide health insurance to people age 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history. So the quote being used in a movie in 1971, while obviously not true, is indeed possible. (Though, given that Charlie's supposed to have said it while floating in midair in the Fizzy Lifting Drinks scene, he'd have been more likely to be referring to himself as needing to regain "solid footing.")


[One long panel, with a large headline at the top, flanked by two small pictures on each side: a portrait of Mitt Romney on the left, and a child (Charlie Bucket) running with a golden ticket in his hand on the left. Below is a list numbered 1 - 12 down the left. The answers on the bottom are written upside down.]
QUIZ: Who said it - former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, or Wonka contest winner Charlie Bucket?
Is there even a difference?
1. ———— "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country."
2. ———— "Returning Medicare to solid footing represents our greatest entitlement challenge."
3. ———— "Look, everyone, look, I've got it! The fifth golden ticket is mine!"
4. ———— We have lost faith in government. Not in just one party, not in just one house, but in government."
5. ———— "This banana's fantastic! It tastes so real."
6. ———— "Grandpa... on the way home today, I ran into Mr. Slugworth."
7. ———— "I'm not happy exporting jobs, but we must move ahead in technology and patents."
8. ———— "Hey, the room is getting smaller."
9. ———— "It would be impossible to reach unanimity on every aspect of our budget."
10. ——— "Grandpa, look over there across the river! They're little men!"
11. ——— "I'm... going too high! Hey, Grandpa, I can't get down! Help! Grandpa, the fan!"
12. ——— "Barack Obama has failed America."

Answers: Mitt Romney: 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12; Charlie Bucket: 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11.

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I got 4/12! I feel proud! Davidy22[talk] 08:29, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I remember when Herman Cain quoted the Pokémon 2000 film. Then again, did not a pro-life politician use Mewtwo's quote? Greyson (talk) 13:21, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

After reading the explanation several times, I still don't get the joke. Is the comic meant as comment that there's something wrong with those kinds of quizzes? Or is it meant to emphasize how well the ordinary ones do line up by offering a bad one for comparison? Or is it just relying on sheer bizarreness, which is why I keep looking for an underlying satirical element that isn't there? I'm just so confused. Mel (talk) 12:22, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Its comparing the absurd (as viewed by Democrats) statements made by Romney to famous quotes by Charlie, implying that they are equally ridiculous and fantastical. 22:04, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm guessing that Romney said #11, right? Youforgotthisthing (talk) 13:57, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

That is actually very crappy upside down text. Did you get it from [upsidedowntext.com]? Check Please! StillNotOriginal (Talk to me!) 23:32, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

Better now? --Dgbrt (talk) 13:26, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Yup. (OCD Strikes back...) StillNotOriginal 22:52, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

This reminds me of when Bernd Höcke, a german far-right politician, published a book and people started comparing parts of his book with parts of A. Hitler's "Mein Kampf" 15:12, 8 November 2021 (UTC)