When A Society Forgets Its Own Clichés . . .

. . . it’s just plain sad.

But that, apparently, is what’s happening in America these days.

From our Mangled Phrases desk:

In Saturday’s Boston Herald, Hillary Chabot reported that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is “under new fire from all sides . . . over his landmark Bay State health-care overhaul as potential 2012 Republican rivals and local Democrats [take] turns blasting the GOP presidential front-runner.”

Among the blasters is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Fox News Channel):

The new barrage comes on the heels of harsh words from former 2008 presidential rival Mike Huckabee, who told reporters this week that Romney should apologize for health-care reform.

“He’s got to figure out how he wants to deal with it. It’s the 800-pound elephant in the room for him,” Huckabee said.

Hey, Mike, pick one: Romney’s either “the elephant in the room” or “the 800-pound gorilla.” Zoologically, he can’t be both.

That’s just the latest in a flurry of botched clichés the hardworking staff has collected in the recent past. Other examples:

From a Daily Beast story (9/10/10):

If Rahm Emanuel runs for mayor of Chicago, could he be jumping out of the pot and into the fire?

From a Boston Herald Letter to the Editor (9/2/10):

Cardullo’s has done a good job at tipping over the golden goose.

From a Boston Herald television review (7/25/10):

The knight had shown up on his shiny horse.

From a Daily Beast piece (8/23/10):

A new trailer that hit the Internet last week proves it: [Joaquin Phoenix] who grew a beard, took up hip-hop, and mumbled through a Letterman appearance was pulling one over on the public.

From a Boston Herald obituary about Ted Koppel’s son Andrew, who was “visibly drunk” according to a neighbor when he died (6/2/10):

“I told him to sit him down, and he was flopped down in the chair. He kept flopping on my chair. I said, ‘Bring him to the room. Let him wear it off. Let him go into the room and lay down and wear it off.”

From Politico’s Playbook, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele describing his style (4/5/10):

My view of politics is much more grassroots-oriented. It’s not old-boy-network oriented. And so I tend to come at it a little bit stronger, a little bit more streetwise, if you will. That’s rubbed some feathers the wrong way.

From MSNBC’s First Read (9/27/08):

So this is a plea to President Bush, for the sake of America, please get your party in line. Get the House Republicans to be more constructive; get Sen. McCain to leave town and not throw fire on these flames.

From the Boston Globe Letters to the Editor (8/2/08):

Now the morons have stirred up the masses to say it’s time for Manny [Ramirez] to leave. It’s called biting your nose off to spite your face.

Sounds painful. Not to mention impossible.

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9 Responses to When A Society Forgets Its Own Clichés . . .

  1. Bob Gardner says:

    Don’t argue zoology with a creationist–he’ll spite your nose off and toss it into the fire.

  2. The Superess says:

    I’ll like take ’em all to like listening to like area college students like
    having like a conversation like about like any like subject. Education ?! for like
    $4o,ooo a year like that’s what one gets in like Boston. That’s like what gets me like
    bent out of like shape.

  3. arafat kazi says:

    man, whoever gets an adage wrong must be a total idiom.

  4. Michael Pahre says:

    An 800-pound elephant ain’t much of an elephant. More like a juvenile elephant.

    Huckabee’s slip makes me think he considers health care only to be a smallish elephant problem for Romney, not a full-sized problem.

  5. Curmudgeon says:

    New college courses for journalists?

    Cliché 101.

    Elementary and Advanced Metaphors? (Or in more current spellings, Meta4s)

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