Varying formulas

Ted the Frog, watercress, and formulaic language:

Are “get the government out of my watercress!!”, “the right to carry watercress openly”, “take back watercress!”, “don’t tread on my watercress!!”, “watercress possession protected by the Second Amendment” snowclones?

I think not. As I said in my “Figs of Fear” posting,

Word play that takes off on titles (of books, films, tv shows, rock bands, whatever), quotations, proverbs, clichés, idioms, and so on is all over the place, and folding such examples in with clear examples of snowclones pretty much reduces the notion of snowclone to vacuity.

Ted’s substitutions of watercress for other expressions in Tea Party slogans are, of course, particularly silly — and are meant (by Bill Griffith) to mock those slogans. For those of you who have been largely insulated from this stuff, here are the Tea Party models:

(1) get the government out of my life!
(2) the right to carry (fire)arms/(hand)guns/weapons openly
(3) take back America!
(4) don’t tread on me!
(5) gun possession protected by the Second Amendment!

(1) has the most variants, with “personal life”, “way”, and “backyard” close to “life”, and “Medicare” (along with “healthcare”, “health insurance”, “bed pan”, and the related benefit “Social Security”, plus “car insurance” related to “health insurance”) close behind, and then financial references (“business”, “bank account”) and an assortment of other things, like “oil spills”. The liberal-activist models for these Libertarian sentiments are things like “bedroom”, “marriage”, and “uterus”, especially as used by fags and feminazis.

(2) echoes the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (but with “carry” for “bear” and with several variants on “arms”), though it introduces the modifier “openly” (“right to carry” laws permit either carrying openly or carrying in general, including carrying concealed weapons).

(3) has models in feminism (with “the night”, from anti-rape demonstrations) and campus activism (with specific university names, most recently “Santa Cruz” and “NYU”).

(4) is a direct quote of the motto on the Gadsden flag (with its coiled rattlesnake), as appropriated by Tea Partiers.

And (5) is another, but looser, Second Amendment reference.

Lots of playful variation on formulas.

(Then there is resistance to taxation, another Tea Party focus: “no taxation without representation!”, though the form of that motto isn’t played on in the strip.)

2 Responses to “Varying formulas”

  1. Boldly going « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] long after that I looked at the variations in “get the government out of my watercress!!”, “the right to carry watercress […]

  2. Burlesques, parodies, playful allusions « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

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