This masterpiece is a mash up of “elephant in the room” (obvious problem no one wants to discuss) and “seeing pink elephants” (recovering from an alcoholic bout). It is particularly interesting as it was uttered by Alex Rodriguez, baseball player for the New York Yankees:
Rodriguez, who admitted to taking steroids from 2001-2003 with the Texas Rangers, said he supported baseball’s efforts to rid the game of performance-enhancing drugs. But he seemed to question the Yankees’ alleged attempts to keep him from returning to the team.
“I think that’s the pink elephant in the room,” Rodriguez said. “I think we all agree that we want to get rid of PEDs. That’s a must. I think all the players feel that way. But when all the stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract, I think that’s concerning for me. It’s concerning for present [players] and it should be concerning for future players as well. There is a process. I’m excited about the way I feel tonight and I’m going to keep fighting.”
This beauty was caught by John Costello. Kudos to John for a timely (and Freudian slip?) malaphor. See also entries “the white elephant in the room” (Sept 6, 2012), “the 800 pound gorilla in the room” (Nov 15, 2012), and “memory like a hawk” (Nov 17, 2012). Elephant malaphors apparently come in all shapes and colors.
This is a conflation of the idioms “memory of an elephant” (excellent recall) and “eyes like a hawk” (very perceptive). The speaker has his animals and senses mixed up it seems. Or, perhaps hawks have excellent memories?
This one comes from the Chicago Tribune, on a story about malaphors. Here is an excerpt:
“One particular idiom blend pops up with such regularity that it appears poised to replace the phrase from which it sprung.
In a recent New York Times story about the economic state of Youngstown, Ohio, a community development director called the city’s large swath of vacant properties the “800-pound gorilla in the room.”
An 800-pound gorilla usually refers to someone or something so large and powerful that it lives by its own set of rules. Its origins can be found in a riddle:
Question: “Where does an 800-pound gorilla sleep?”
Answer: “Anywhere it wants to.”
It’s also used to describe a dominant player. Urban Dictionary defines it thusly: “An overbearing entity in a specific industry or sphere of activity. A seemingly unbeatable presence always to be reckoned with; whose experience, influence and skill threatens to defeat competitors with little effort.”
Sometimes the gorilla surpasses a mere 800 pounds. (“Whose the 900-pound gorilla now?” asked a headline on a recent tech story about Facebook overtaking Google as the biggest web site in 2010. Sometimes the gorilla sheds a few hundred pounds. ( Colorado’s governor-elect was quoted last month calling the state’s billion-dollar shortfall “the 600-pound gorilla.”)
And sometimes the gorilla is an elephant.
“The elephant in the room” refers to an obvious truth that no one is addressing. A health educator in California’s Central Valley was quoted earlier this week saying, “If there’s an elephant in the room with the obesity epidemic, it’s soda consumption.”
Sometimes the elephant in the room is pink, further underscoring how difficult it would be to overlook the metaphorical pachyderm.
So when idiom meets idiom and the proverbial room is filled with a proverbial gorilla, are we ignoring an obvious overbearing, unbeatable force? Or simply replacing the elephant with another giant animal for variety sake?
Regardless, the saying’s meaning remains more or less intact. And a little blending keeps our age-old idioms from getting stale.”