When a Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés . . .

. . . well, that’s just sad.

The hardnoting staff has a habit of recording mangled phrases in the press, and here’s our latest batch.

• From Boston Magazine last July, about the 2014 Massachusetts gubernatorial race: “[Martha Coakley’s] apparent reversal after a year-plus of claiming to have no intention of running for governor rankles feathers.”

No – it either ruffles feathers or rankles. Not both.

• From the Wall Street Journal last July about the International Cherry-Pit Spitting Contest: “[L]ast year, a 47-year-old delivery truck driver from the South Side of Chicago, who had never spit a competitive cherry pit in his life, appeared out of nowhere with a first-place finish and the best spit in nearly a decade.

“‘Every squirrel finds a nut once in a while,’ [Brian] Krause, who came in fifth last year, said of the coup.”

Actually, it’s “even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while,” but why get technical about it.

• From MSNBC’s First Read last July about Iowa Rep. Steve King’s comments about young undocumented Mexican immigrants running drugs across the border. “I’ve sat along the border at night,” he said on CNN. “This isn’t something made up in thin air.”

Yeah – made up out of thin air kind of works better. Made from whole cloth is also a possibility. Whatever.

• NPR TV critic last September on Arsenio Hall: “He was a major figure in talk-show history, and the first to take a dent at Johnny Carson.”

Really? You either put a dent in Johnny Carson or take a run at Johnny Carson. Pick one.

• Boston Globe columnist Kevin Paul Dupont, who does excellent work overall, stubbed his toe last October when he ventured into commentary about former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice picking college football teams to play for the national title. Not only did Rice fall short, but current Secretary of State John Kerry “couldn’t cut muster” either.

Sorry, Kevin – Kerry either couldn’t cut the mustard or pass muster.

• Not to pick on Dupont, but later that month he wrote this about some Red Sox mishegoss in a World Series game against the St. Louis Cardinals  “The ball went by [Will] Middlebrooks in his collision with [Allen] Craig, and Craig straightened up and bolted for home. Alert field fielder [sic] Daniel Nava backed up the play, fired home in time to get Craig. But it was all for not . . . ”

Not for nothing, but it was all for naught.

• From a devastating New Republic piece last October about Bill Clinton pilot fish Doug Band: “‘He was one of those guys who stayed till two o’clock in the morning, worked very hard, and was impeccably loyal. Both Clintons value those  qualities – the loyalty, being willing to do anything, walk through the coals for you,’ says a former Clinton administration official.”

It’s walk on coals, but why get technical about it.

• NPR reporter in April talked about a memorial “for all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”  Wellll . . . you either make the ultimate sacrifice or pay the ultimate price. Yes?

• Back in April when the Supreme Court struck down combined campaign contribution limits, BuzzFeed reported that “[the] long-awaited decision comes down in a 5-4 split along ideological grounds.”

Not to split high courts, but it’s along ideological lines or on ideological grounds. Stare decisis.

• During the Bruins-Canadiens Stanley Cup bakeoff last month, Montreal forward David Desharnais said this about the garbage thrown at him and his teammates in Boston Garden: “[I]t’s a big rivalry and we’re the Montreal Canadiens, so I mean when we come here we don’t expect to be cuddled.”

The hardguessing staff thinks he means coddled, but then again, we’re not from Quebec.

• One final Stanley Cup note (tip o’ the pixel to splendid commenter @MickeyBPowerPop): During the Finals, talking head Jeremy Roenick said “You have to have desperate times with desperate measures.”

Yeah – tell it to the English language.


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5 Responses to When a Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés . . .

  1. Bill says:

    I think you should make all these writers tow the line!

  2. Loves these. DuPont, btw, knows better – those may be “auto-correct” or cut and paste typos.

  3. Curmudgeon says:

    Geekers, I’ve never had a problem cutting the mustard.

    Now, cutting the grass, that’s a different story.

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