This one comes on the heels of my last malaphor, both uttered by Joe Biden in the same speech. See https://malaphors.com/2020/07/13/the-chinese-are-spending-multiple-billions-of-dollars-trying-to-own-the-technology-of-the-future-while-we-sit-with-our-thumb-in-our-ear/
This one appears near the end of the speech. Here is the text:
The only thing that can tear America part, and I mean this sincerely, no foreign country, not the way he coddles up to, well, I shouldn’t even get into this, but coddles up to Putin and others. They can’t tear us apart.
This is a mashup of “cuddle up to” (get close to, ingratiate) and “coddle” (treat tenderly). A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one on Morning Joe!
The Chinese are spending multiple billions of dollars trying to own the technology of the future while we sit with our thumb in our earPosted: July 13, 2020
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden uttered this one in his speech last week in Dunmore, PA. I believe this is a body part mashup of “close your ears (to something)” or “fingers in your ears” (ignore something) and “have (one’s) thumb up (one’s) ass” (not doing what you should be doing). Not sure this one was on the teleprompter. If not, perhaps Joe changed his mind mid- phrase when he was about to utter the word “ass”. You can find the quote here: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/09/joe-biden-economic-plan-355416
A big thanks to Fred Martin and Beatrice Zablocki for both catching this one live and sending a quick email to me. I have a feeling that the next few months will bring an abundance of malaphors. Keep your eyes and ears peeled!
The humorist H. Allen Smith used this phrase as the title of a book (1941) after the radio comedian Fred Allen had used the term to describe him in an introduction to an earlier book. The position on an actual totem pole bu the way, has no such signficiance. Nevertheless, the term caught on quickly enough to become a cliche.
Instead of posting my new malaphor for Monday, I thought I would repost this gem from a few years ago. This one appears in my new book, “Things Are Not Rosy-Dory: Malaphors From Politicians and Pundits”, available NOW on Amazon. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C7GGMG5?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860
“This is another one from Senator Bernie Sanders, this time regarding a comment made by Senator Pat Toomey. Sen. Sanders asked if Toomey would pledge not to cut Social Security and Medicare and Toomey responded, “I will not cut benefits on people who are on it right now”. Sanders responded that Toomey “Just let the cat out of the box”. It is a mix of “out of the box” (a product that can be used immediately) and “let the cat out of the bag” (to reveal a secret by accident). Of course a “cat box” may have been on Sanders’ mind as he was articulating his disdain for the proposed Republican tax bill. A big thanks to Susan Ameel for hearing this one!”
And below is another nice illustration from the book drawn by my friend and dentist Dr. Cheryl Rosato!
Introducing my new Malaphor book: “Things Are Not Rosy-Dory: Malaphors From Politicians and Pundits”Posted: July 3, 2020
LaToya Cantrell, mayor of New Orleans, was discussing police actions and public safety on the MSNBC show, “All In with Chris Hayes”. This is a mashup of “turned the corner” (begun to have improvement or success after a difficult or troubling period) and “ahead of the curve” (better than average). Both idioms are about success or improvement. Although the topic was not about the pandemic, “flatten the curve” (slowing down the spread of a disease) was probably on the speaker’s mind as well. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one. You can hear this malaphor at approximately 16 minutes into the show:
The speaker was commenting on another person’s political statement that was based on a lie rather than fact. It is a rare, three-way malaphor, combining “frame of mind” (mental or emotional attitude or mood), “mindset” (a person’s attitudes or opinions formed from earlier experiences), and “living in a world of (one’s) own” (consumed by one’s thoughts or imagination). A big thanks to David Barnes for hearing and spotting this unicorn in the malaphor wilds.
At first blush, this looked more like a mixed metaphor than a malaphor, but on close inspection it is indeed a mashup of two idioms. This one comes from the local news in Baltimore: a Baltimore City official was giving an update on trash/garbage pickup problems, and trashmen were off work as a result of the coronavirus. Here is the quote:
“This last week has been extremely difficult for everyone involved, but there is a silver lining at the end of that tunnel,” Chalmers said. “The Eastern District will be back up and running tomorrow. If you can’t hear the sigh of relief in my voice, I’m glad that they’re coming back.”
It is a mix of “every cloud has a silver lining” (every bad situation holds the possibility of something good) and “light at the end of the tunnel” (a period of hardship is nearing its end). Both expressions involve a bad situation turning better, so this malaphor perhaps means a doubly bad situation made doubly better? Or maybe the official was thinking of silver linings for the trashcans. A big thanks to Fred Martin for hearing this one and sending it in!