The Closet Moderate: Where's the beef?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where's the beef?

In every election year, brain-addled journalists climb up on some word or phrase and ride it until they're sore all over. Last time, getting "thrown under the bus" made the rounds as the cliché of choice in the American press corps. This time, the banal phrase "game-changer" seems to be ascendant.

It's not terribly unusual for war or sports metaphors to cross over into politics -- indeed, the very word "campaign" was not used in the political sense until the 1920's, when veterans of the First World War connected the military term to the political world. Terms like "down the stretch" and "by a nose" have long been part of the political discussion, and demonstrate that lots more people used to watch horse racing. But, as the graph below shows, "game-changer" has come from behind and surged past "under the bus" in the past month, both in number of Google searches and number of news references:

So, who cares? If you only care about the facts behind the story, then the lack of literary art likely leaves you non-plussed. But if you believe that words mean something, that writing is an art, and that reporters should try to elevate discourse, not to homogenize it, then you're likely muttering the same things I am as you read or listen to political reportage.

What other words or phrases lately added to our lexicon have set your angry bones a'throbbin'?


kevin allen jr. said...

That whole Wall St. v Main St. thing. That is like getting your dick run over by a grain combine.

Waldorf said...

Wouldn't I have to care at least a little in order to be non-plussed?

Also, I agree that Wall St. and Main St. can both suck My Dick St.

Silent Cal said...

I hadn't considered Wall Street v. Main Street. Yes, it is overused, not to mention simplistic and populist.

Mark Peters said...

For more on the game-changer cliche:

May it die soon...

Silent Cal said...

I'm also kind of annoyed with "grow jobs," like jobs come in seed packets that Farmer Government just sticks in the ground and waters.