Thursday, June 28, 2007

Here I Go Again With the Bossiness

They've done it again.

I'm reading the Tribune's Red Eye (shaddap, I was doing the puzz and finished early) and turned to Dustin J. Seibert's "Hump Day" column, which is all about dating or not dating women of faith. And lo and behold, right there in Black and White and Puerto Rican, he calls the divide between a woman's overriding faith and his mildly confrontational lack of same the "800-pound gorilla in the room."


It's not. No 800-pound gorillas, goddamn it. Man, even Wikipedia's on my side with this one (and no, I didn't write the entry; I love the term "contamination from a separate idiom" but I would never have thought to call it that, even though that's exactly what it is). And I blame AXA Equitable for that goddamned series of ads perpetrating this crap on the lazy-ass, don't-know-better writers out there who hear something and assume it must be correct because they saw it in an ad or on TV. It's a lot like Seinfeld's "The Yada Yada," which made that phrase a popular shorthand for inane repetition, which is itself a shortening of Oscar Hammerstein's "Yatata, Yatata, Yatata" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Allegro. Now shit, I'm not suggesting NBC viewers need to know Allegro or anything, but the writers might have looked it up. Or watched M*A*S*H, which also used it correctly. (I'd bet Larry Gelbart wrote the episode in question, and I bet he looked it up.) I hate the laziness involved in shit like that. Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip (like Sorkin hasn't had enough problems with it) did the same thing on last week's episode. Sarah Paulson was doing her not-bad Holly Hunter impression and COMPLETELY MISQUOTED a great line from Broadcast News-"I have crossed some line, someplace. I'm beginning to repel people I'm trying to seduce." Paulson (well, her unbelievably annoying Christian character Harriet; let's get her together with Dustin!) said "I think I've turned a corner someplace..." Aaaaugh.

Sorkin should know better. He fucked up Gilbert and Sullivan too, so double aaaaugh. Maybe he just did what I did when I was writing my book and just assumed a lot of stuff off the top of his head that turned out to be wrong. But still, didn't anybody at NBC know Broadcast News or H.M.S. Pinafore better than I do?

But I digress. Once again, everyone: There is no "800-pound gorilla in the room." It doesn't make sense. The 800-pound gorilla is a metaphor for absolute power (Q: Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit [or sleep]? A: Wherever he wants.) The elephant in the room is a metaphor for deliberate avoidance of an uncomfortable truth (such as, say, ignoring your son's tattoos and body piercings at Thanksgiving, or refusing to discuss your niece's divorce and ugly custody fight). Nobody deliberately avoids the uncomfortable truth of absolute power. Thank you for your time. And please don't make me woodshed you again. I love you too much.


At 10:29 PM, Blogger Steve Foerster said...

Those commercials bug me every time they come on. I'm certainly not interested in financial services from AXA if they can't even check their own ads.


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