Archive for the ‘Snowclones’ Category

The Amelioration formula

October 5, 2017

A recent instance, from Baltimore Sun copyeditor John McIntyre on Facebook today:

At the desk. Converting defective prose into the merely mediocre since 1980.

An earlier parallel, from Sigmund Freud’s Studies on Hysteria (1895) (co-written with Josef Breuer), as translated by Nicola Luckhurst (2004):

But you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness.

A snowclonic figure of speech, Amelioration of Awful to Ordinary (Amelioration, for short), of the form:

Transformation-Verb Awful (in)to Ordinary

(with transformation verb transform, turn, change, convert, make, rework, etc.)

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I like pig butts and I cannot lie

September 19, 2017

Noted on a sign in Dan Gordon’s in Palo Alto yesterday — a place that specializes in barbequed meat, especially brisket and pulled pork. Meanwhile, I like pig butts and I cannot lie, with its double entendre play on butt, has apparently achieved meme status; it’s now available in many forms, including t-shirts from several suppliers:

(#1)

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Playing an old lady

August 18, 2017

Passed on by Benita Bendon Campbell, the One Big Happy for yesterday, as it appeared in the Denver Post:

The snowclone Play One, in which the central figure denies that she is an old lady — that’s not how she perceives herself — while conceding that she plays one in real life.

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And venison is from Venus

December 19, 2016

Marsupials are from Mars, according to Ruthie in One Big Happy:

Faced with marsupial, which looks like it has Mars as its first element (and sounds pretty close to that), Ruthie chops out the Mars and comes up with a second element upial. So she’s treating the whole word as a N + N compound, which means that upial is the head N, and if the compound is as simple as possible, it’s subsective: a marsupial is then a kind of upial — a variety from Mars.

Ruthie has then given marsupial the demi-eggcorn treatment, analyzing Mars in it and flying with the possibility that upial is an English noun (with a meaning she doesn’t happen to know).