A review of the new biography of Timothy Leary appearing in the Times today includes the following paragraph:
In a twist that could have occurred only in 1970, a consortium of drug dealers paid the Weather Underground to spring Leary from the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo — he pulled himself along a telephone cable over the fence, then was picked up by a car — and transport him to Algeria. He duly issued a press statement written in the voice of the Weathermen, the money line of which was: "To shoot a genocidal robot policeman in the defense of life is a sacred act." [emphasis mine]
The last time I recall seeing someone use that terminology in reference to a piece of writing's spunkiest moment was in my own hand, aimed at an article I wrote in 2003 for a national physics lab's magazine. Sending the link to a fellow writer, I wrote, "Be sure to read the final graf for the money shot."
What was it?
[LA Times science journalist K.C.] Cole proudly told me what Dava Sobel, author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, said of her once. "'K.C. Cole is our ambassador to the realms of the exceedingly strange.'" Couldn't one say the same of 60's psychonaut Timothy Leary, the Harvard scientist who explored the far reaches of experience with psychotropic drugs in search of insight? Cole laughed. "But my exceedingly strange realm is the universe," she said. "It's the real stuff. That's what's so amazing about it. The universe itself is much more amazing than anything Timothy Leary ever saw. I don't care what he was on."
And personally, I think the money shot in the Times piece was its title: "The Nutty Professor." Ahem.