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I want to get the elephant out of the room

This was uttered in a general session meeting at a conference.  The speaker was trying to raise an issue that was well-known to all but was avoided in discussion.  I believe it is a mashup of “the elephant in the room” (a serious problem that everyone is aware of but choose not to mention) and “out in the open” (expose something for public knowledge).  The beauty of this malaphor is that it contains idioms that are opposites: one exposing something that is hidden and the other keeping something hidden that should be exposed.  “Out on the table” might also be in the mix.
As any loyal malaphors.com follower knows, idioms involving elephants are frequently mixed.  Type in “elephant” and see the many posts.  There is also a chapter in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” (Amazon) devoted to elephants.  A big thanks to John Costello for hearing this one and sharing it.  Also a big thanks to Cheryl Rosato for her “elephant in the room” drawing and for illustrating the malaphor book!
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It’s the 800 pound elephant in the room

Elephants and gorillas don’t mix, yet this malaphor is an exception.  This was heard on the NPR show “to the Best of Our Knowledge”.  Charles Monroe Cain was interviewing former navy pilot and drone developer Missy Cummings from Duke. He asked her about “the 800 pound elephant in the room.”   This is a conflation of “the 800 pound gorilla (dominant force that cannot be ignored) and “the elephant in the room” (a truth that cannot be ignored).  Bottom line is that you can’t ignore a gorilla OR an elephant.  This elephant mix up thing seems pretty common – see prior postings on pink elephants and white elephants.   A trumpeting thank you to eagle eared malaphor hunter Yvonne Stam for sending this one in!

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Elephant poaching is over the roof

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Pitts...

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Pittsburgh Zoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This malaphor combines two expressions concerning high numbers –  “through the roof” (increasing very quickly) and “over the top”.  Barbara Baker, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo, made this comment in reference to the increase in elephant poaching.  Many thanks to Sam Edelmann who heard this on the radio last week.


I think that’s the pink elephant in the room

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.”

Read A-Rod hopes for return to Yankees on Monday on ESPN.com

 

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.

 


The white elephant in the room

This little ditty was spoken at a meeting last week all the way from Afghanistan.  It is a mash up of “elephant in the room” (obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed) and “white elephant” (a burdensome possession whose costs outweigh its value).  The crackerjack research team at Malaphors HQ (my “ol’ pal”) tells me there are few, if any, elephants in Afghanistan, much less white elephants.  Tip of the toque to Jim Washabaugh, loyal malaphor follower, for sending me this gem.