National Review writer actually throws rude theater patron’s cell phone — do we applaud?
Before every theater performance, an announcer reminds patrons to turn off their cell phones, yet rude people continue to text throughout the play. I enjoyed a vicarious thrill when I read this article because, believe me, I’ve experienced the impulse to take matters into my own hands, even if I didn’t act on it. Full article here.
The writing’s on the wall—hang up the cell phones and engage with life. These notices, seen at a coffee shop, yoga studio, a fancy restaurant, and a library respectively, tell me that our culture is getting fed up with the inherent rudeness of people talking on their cell phones while conducting other business. End the conversation and give your full attention to the task at hand. There’s an app for that. It’s called Respect.
Shucking and Jiving
A few weeks ago on Meet the Press, General(R) Powell criticized a “dark vein” of the Republican party for their racist comments and attitudes. He cited as evidence the example of a governor saying President Obama was “shucking and jiving” over the Benghazi issue. This expression, Powell said, was offensive because it had connotations from slavery.
All due respect, General Powell, but I think you’re going to have to come up with a better example to support an accusation of racism.
People use idiomatic expressions all the time without knowing their origins and without any ill intent. For example, “saved by the bell” and “graveyard shift” both hark back to days when people were mistakenly buried alive. Their macabre roots prevent few of us from saying them now.
I’ve used “shucking and jiving” to describe myself when I’m expending a lot of energy without accomplishing much. If I thought it were offensive, I wouldn’t use it. Instead, I think it’s a colorful, evocative phrase that’s become part of the American lexicon.
Uber Democrat Chris Matthews of MSNBC apparently feels the same way because he spoke the phrase “shuck and jive” to Rachel Maddow when she visited Afghanistan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH3i_tS6uoI
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney also labeled his stall tactics a “shuck and jive” when he accidentally brought the wrong notebook to a press conference. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/09/07/carney_im_going_to_shuck_and_jive.html
Most people have no idea of its derivation and don’t care. A recent Google search on “shucking and jiving” returned this hit: “The phrase none of us knew was racist until Yahoo said it was.” To call it an intentional slur smacks of hyper-sensitivity, knee-jerk defensiveness, and race-baiting.
America’s figurative language evolves from a rich concoction of geographic, historical, social, and occupational influences. This Tumblr site is dedicated to studying the relationship between culture and language. At the risk of offending the dog population, our vernacular is a messy, morphing, mongrel tongue, and that’s what makes it so interesting.
TheHangingIndent.com blog post by Marna Ashburn Krajeski
Banish These Phrases!
Lake Superior State University has just released its list of banished words for 2013. These are the words, phrases, and acronyms that are so overused and overdone that we want them gone. Do these bug the heck out of you?
YOLO—acronym for “You Only Live Once”
Kick the can down the road
Nominations for the 2014 list are now being accepted on their Facebook page.
www.TheHangingIndent blog post by Marna Ashburn Krajeski