Act of show

From the Palo Alto Daily News of 21 March 2009, “Palo Alto shooting suspect still at large”, by Diana Samuels, p. 3:

Police said Gil-Fernandez claimed affiliation with the Norteno street gang, though that claim may have been mostly an act of show in Palo Alto, where the Norteno gang doesn’t have much of a presence.

This is the mass noun show ‘display’, also seen in “That was all show (and no substance)”, “That was nothing but show”, and “That was just show” (notice the subtle contrast with “That was just  a show”, with its greater sense of pretense). But “act of show” was new to me.

Some further examples: 

I remembered my fiancé’s first time to pay me a visit at home. I was listening to Metallica. At that time, he thought I was just playing it to impress him. Later as we knew each other better, he realized that it was not an act of show but simply my choice of music. (link)

Gabby,Lynette,Bree,Susan and Eddie are all part of a clan that has secrets lies and webs of drama they all live in such a perfect area yet knowing all the perfection is just an act of show!!! (link)

Col. Gianfranco Cavallo of the Carabinieri paramilitary police said the bomb appeared to be an “act of show” rather than an attack planned to make victims. (link)

Actually it was our state governor, a female democrat (Ks) that ordered them sent! I am sure that it was more of an act of show than anything else. (link)

There are also hits for “act of show-off”:

do you think if I show up with my guitar it won’t be weired? won’t people think of it as an act of show off? [Yahoo! Indonesia] (link)

Again, McLeod depicts Ganda Singh as a shallow person of pretentious nature whose ego was inflated by the mere receipt of a book from McLeod and as an act of show-off, he carried it round under his arm, with the title prominently displayed for all to see. (link)

They dabble in esoteric themes like mysticism, sexual freedom, death, the after-life and such things, as an act of show off. (link)

Unlike the “act of show” examples, these seem to be from various Asian varieties of English.

[A first version of this was posted to ADS-L.]

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