2470: Next Slide Please

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Next Slide Please
"I have nothing to offer but blood--next slide, please--toil--next slide, please--tears, and--next slide, please--sweat."
Title text: "I have nothing to offer but blood--next slide, please--toil--next slide, please--tears, and--next slide, please--sweat."


This comic presumes that many famous quotes are actually excerpts from slideshow presentations, and the text they were reading was split across multiple slides. Splitting sentences across multiple slides can often be a useful tool if there are images accompanying it, which could explain the specific placement of many of "next slide, please" comments. For example, in the quote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," one can imagine the speaker starting with a slide that showed the prosperity of some people then, in the middle of the sentence, switching to a slide of many people's destitution. When using images this way, it is often better for timing purposes to have control of your own slides. However, Randall claims that, in these speeches, the person making the speech wasn't controlling their slide presentation, so they had to ask the operator to go to the next slide. A common way to ask this is to say "next slide, please", but these requests would have been edited out of the historical transcripts. The comic imagines the places where the slide breaks might have been, and inserts that request.

Most of these quotes are drawn from speeches, which could conceivably have been accompanied by slides or other stage directions ("pause for laughter"), but the list is quite ridiculous as it includes works of literature, where the reader is the one who turns pages as necessary, and speeches from periods of history, such as the American Revolution and Caesar's Veni, vidi, vici speech, which predated slide projectors[citation needed]. Even in the quotations that take place in an era with slide projectors, every single one is an instance where the speaker was, quite famously, recorded live — said recordings would show there were in fact no edits, and certainly not any instructions for a slide projector operator. See details in the table below, including the quote in the title text.

The phrase "Next slide, please" is perhaps in a sweet-spot of utility and performance. A rehearsed presentation, with speaker and 'slide handler' working with a tight script, could probably do without off-stage prompting at all, or the better lecturers with an oft-repeated talk could set it all on timings knowing they can keep the changes synchronised with their speech, or vice-versa. But when a cue is necessary, an unambiguous signal should be used, and an audible 'clicker' (or a small and briefly flashed light) has been used historically, especially with pre-electronic slide-shows where the slide-operator at the back of an auditorium needed to clearly discern the intent of the person at the lectern.

In the United Kingdom, England's Chief Medical Officer caused some amusement on social media with the constant use of the phrase in coronavirus presentations, culminating in the availability of many mugs and cards with his image and this slogan on, and a campaign[1] to purchase an automatic clicker for him instead.

Table of quotes[edit]

Quote Attribution Context
"Give me liberty or give me—Next slide, please—death!" Patrick Henry, at the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, as part of the American Colonies' War of Independence from Great Britain. A quotation from his speech to convince the Second Virginia Convention to provide troops for the American Revolutionary War.
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down—Next slide, please—this wall." Ronald Reagan, Berlin Wall Speech (1987). A speech calling for the opening of the Berlin Wall. This speech was later well known after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, resulting in the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In the comic Ronald Reagan is shown next to his slide with a picture of the wall, with an arrow "helpfully" clarifying exactly which wall it is he wants Gorbachev to tear down.
"It was the best of times—Next slide, please—It was the worst of times." A Tale of Two Cities, novel by Charles Dickens. This is the opening lines of the novel, and one of Dickens' most famous quotations. At the current pace, the opening introduction would have 13 "Next slide, please" instances.
"We have nothing to fear but—Next slide, please—fear itself." Inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. A speech outlining Franklin D. Roosevelt's plan to recover from the Great Depression. The correct phrasing of this speech is: "the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself".
"To be or—Next slide, please—not to be, that is the question." Quotation from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Act III, Scene 1. This speech, in which the character Hamlet contemplates committing suicide, is considered a soliloquy, even though Ophelia was in the room reading a book.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art—Next slide, please—more lovely and—Next slide, please—more temperate." Shakespeare's Sonnet 18. One of the most famous of Shakespeare's 154 known sonnets. A sonnet is a type of poem and it requires specific rhyming and pacing. The inclusion of "Next slide, please" breaks the poetic flow and unbalances the length of lines, making it unpredictable when a rhyme is supposed to occur.
"We shall fight—Next slide, please—on the beaches, we shall fight on—Next slide, please—the landing grounds..." Winston Churchill, We shall fight on the beaches speech. On 4 June 1940, after the disastrous first weeks of the battle of France, Churchill had to acknowledge a military disaster but convey confidence in victory and will to fight.
In the comic Winston Churchill is shown next to his slide of a beach. The beach image shown, shows Ponytail sitting under a parasol Cueball sitting on the sand with a drink and a kid playing with a beach-ball, as opposed to the rapidly fortified sea-fronts of wartime Britain.
"Read my lips—Next slide, please—no new taxes." George H. W. Bush, spoken at 1988 Republican National Convention A significant part of Bush's political platform was the opposition of new taxes. However, after winning the election, he was unable to keep this promise and ultimately did raise taxes in 1990.
"That's one small step for man—Next slide, please—one giant leap for mankind." Neil Armstrong, when he stepped off the Apollo 11 lunar module and onto the surface of the Moon. The "next slide, please", could be proof of a fake moon landing, although Neil Armstrong strongly insisted that the speech be made on location.[citation needed] The positioning of the "next slide, please" was placed at the intended comma, although there was also a small gap within "one giant" which could also be a potential placement in the audio clip.

Armstrong, it should be noted, claimed to have said "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" and that the a should be included in the quotation, at least in parenthesis.

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! Next slide, please. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." Spoken by the character Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, Act III, Scene 2. Takes place after Julius Caesar suffered a few stab wounds in Act III, scene 2. If it were a presentation, the pictures would need to be created between scenes, although the play implies there would barely be enough time in response to a recent event.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of—Next slide, please—a good fortune, must be in want of—Next slide, please—a wife." Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen. Opening line to the novel, introducing marriage as a motif (and problem) in the novel.
"Veni, vidi—Velim, pictura proxima—vici." Julius Caesar, wrote his famous sentence Veni, vidi, vici in a letter after defeating Pharnaces II (47 BC). The sentence literally means, "I came, I saw, I conquered." Caesar used this phrase to refer to a swift, conclusive victory at the Battle of Zela. This is the only "next slide, please" which has been translated into a different language (Latin, in this case).
"I have nothing to offer but blood—next slide, please—toil—next slide, please—tears, and—next slide, please—sweat." (title text) Winston Churchill, Blood, toil, tears and sweat speech. From 1940, shortly after he was appointed the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, when asking for a vote of confidence in the new all-party (unity) cabinet.

It would have to respond to the continuing challenges of the war-footing and active conflicts of WW2. The country had already been at war for eight months and was yet to experience Dunkirk, prompting yet another of Churchill's defiant speeches (mentioned above).


[A list of 12 quotes is given. Above is a large header with a question, and then a description, before the quotes follows. The text above the quotes is centered:]
Did you know?
Transcripts of famous quotes often
leave out the slideshow instructions.
Here’s how these lines actually sounded:
[The first six quotations, are written so they fit around an image of Ronald Reagan standing next to his slide showing six segments of the Berlin Wall. A large arrow points down on to the middle segment of the wall. There is something on the ground in front of the wall, could be puddles or debris. The image is to the right, and the two first and last quote goes above and below the image, while the other three stops to the left of the image:]
"Give me liberty or give me—Next slide, please—death!"
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down—Next slide, please—this wall."
"It was the best of times—Next slide, please—It was the worst of times."
"We have nothing to fear but—Next slide, please—fear itself."
"To be or—Next slide, please—not to be, that is the question."
"Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art—Next slide, please—more lovely and—Next slide, please—more temperate."
[Below those five quotations is three more quotes to the right of an image showing Winston Churchill standing next to his slide showing a beach. The sun and three small clouds are over the ocean which has white waves on the black water. Ponytail is sitting under a parasol to the left, Cueball is sitting on the sand to the right with a drink in his hands, and behind him is a kid running after a large beach-ball.]
"We shall fight—Next slide, please—on the beaches, we shall fight on—Next slide, please—the landing grounds..."
"Read my lips—Next slide, please—no new taxes."
"That's one small step for man—Next slide, please—one giant leap for mankind."
[Below this picture is the last three quotations, without any pictures:]
"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears! Next slide, please. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of—Next slide, please—a good fortune, must be in want of—Next slide, please—a wife."
"Veni, vidi—Velim, pictura proxima—vici."


  • The Blood, toil, tears and sweat speech was the topic of 1148: Nothing to Offer and lists additional items; at the current pace, "next slide, please" would be placed between each item, making that extra-long speech even longer.

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What the hell was Randall been doing for the past week that made this comic come to mind? He must have attended the world's worst seminar. 23:32, 31 May 2021 (UTC)

He couldn't have, he's been banned from them all. Danish (talk) 23:53, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
Well in my company right now it is even worse with "next slide please" when people share a presentation as they cannot use gestures or something like that to signal the person controlling the slideshow. So I took it initaially not as a jab at seminars/conferences/etc. but online meetings. --Lupo (talk) 06:05, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
Here in the UK, it is 'famous' from the COVID Briefings from Downing Street (not to further drag this into the Pandemic set of comics, of course) where it just looks like they couldn't afford a 'clicker' for (each?) expert/politician bringing visuals to the press conference. (Then they spent millions on a new 'Presidential-style briefing room', but no idea if they'd still need to 'NSP' off-podium due to it being abandoned before it got used.) Which makes for some unintentional satire.
((But I admit I laughed most for the Latin insertion, regardless of's comment below.)) 09:47, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

I'm picturing this comic not just as computer slides, but also as birthday cards - those that have a message on the outside and a twist when you open the card. 00:45, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

I was confused about why the "next slide" for "Veni, Vidi, Vici" was in Latin but not "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, etc". Then I remembred the latter was actually from Shakespeare. GreatWyrmGold (talk) 04:54, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

Pretty sure that in the last one "pictura proxima" should be in the accusative case, as the object of an implied verb "da" (give). As it stands, it means "please, there is a next slide" which is weird. 07:46, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

Velim is closer to "I would like" the colloquial way a roman would say please is "amabo te" (I will love you) what's weird is that there's a comma splice. This should be picturam proxima velim; "I would like the next picture". Although, giving it some more thought it's probably intentionally done to keep the alliteration while also being just as stilted; "I Came. I Saw. I Would Like, the next picture. I Conquered." Imagine someone reading that with the same tone an inflection.--Lackadaisical (talk) 20:57, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
"proxima" seems misplaced: that's "nearest" not next, like Proxima Centauri. Probably should have used "postera" instead.
Proxima can also mean next as in "the next in a sequence" and picturam postera seems a little odd to me, I know it also means next but it doesn't seem like it would be used in this context. In a way it seems later in the sequence than proxima, as if you are saying "the slide after the next slide" --Lackadaisical (talk) 15:55, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

Shall we add the fact that Winston Churchill's speech is also referenced in 1148? Kvarts314 (talk) 07:48, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

Yes. Done. --Lupo (talk) 08:09, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
On Churchill's (other) quote, the third-column suggests the 'beeches' should be either Dunkirk or Normandy/other Allied landings. But at that point in time it was expected that, France having been effectively los, it would imminently be an Axis landing on British soil (that did not happen, except for the Channel Islands). The beeches of Britain; the landing grounds of (alongside the aforementioned amphibious options) paratroopers and/or gliders; conflict in fields, in towns and either strategic or guerilla resistance fighting from the geological high ground.
The image he was trying to convey would be the beeches probably not too dissimilar to the merry 'resort' depiction (sharing with fishing and shipping ports a propensity of not being too difficult to gain a physically useful beach-head, once opposition had been suppressed, rather than cliffs, marshes, etc), which the images from the interbellum would have been recognisably similar to the 'joke' slide (though probably in sepia, or hand-colourised).
Of course, all these places would by then be well on the way to being studded with tank-traps, landmines, barbed wire and sandbagged/pillboxed defensive positions, and whatever other emplacements the engineers could devise. But compatively few non-locals would have been to the sea-side between the prior September and the pre-Summer months as the situation had drastically worsened (and the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1940/etc reshaped life), so the average listener probably would still harbour memories of their experiences as holidaymakers and only be exposed to select patriotically-framed newsreel footage of how the plucky coastdwellers were 'doing their bit' to help secure the nation, For The Duration.
Just to insert some reality into this, for those who at this point in history had both less or more conflict on their home soil. Obviously the image of Der Mauer is fairly accurate to the real thing (or at least the bits that I saw, and just one of the layers-in-depth) but I get the impression that most of the indicated imminent slides are (at best) clip-arty/figurative illustrations.
The "blood", "tears" and "sweat" might be easier to literally show than "fear (itself)", etc, but I can't imagine they'd be too much more sophisticated than a generic photostock of fairly abstract scenarios merely tagged as portraying the bodily fluids concerned. ;) 02:14, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

Just for the record they actually had slide projectors during the Civil War. There's beautiful photographs and film negatives from that Era. Some of them are even in color using a method where colored lenses are placed in front of the camera and multiple pictures are taken. 18:49, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

Should we be using emdash, endash, or double-hyphen? The alt text uses double-hyphen, but if the rest were put into a slide-show, presumably Powerpoint, they would be converted to emdash, right? 21:02, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

Wow! all these people throughout history have chosen terrible points to place their slide transitions: all mid-sentence. 16:09, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

Regarding fake moon landing, I remember a comics (probably not XKCD, though) where the landing was totally staged ... but still filmed on moon, next to big city. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:45, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

Everyone knows that because of the threat of Moon Nazis, they had to use a special filter when they filmed them in the desert... of Mars! 02:21, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

One that kind of makes sense in my opinion, is, "So you have chosen -- next slide, please -- DEATH!" 00:50, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

The title text maybe a pun, since the word 'slide' could also refer to a microscope slide, which is often a square glass piece used to bear the sample we want to examine. send by Temporal 05:34, 7 June 2021 (UTC)