This was heard in a phone conference. The context indicated that the speaker was thinking of straw man. It is a nice conflation of “straw man” (a form of argument and an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent) and I think “horse of a different color” (something completely different, particularly in comparison of something else). Both expressions refer to comparisons or substitutions. “Trojan horse” (something that seems good or useful but is really something to cause harm in the future) may also be in play, as again it refers to a substitution or comparison. The speaker probably linked “straw” with “horses” instead of “men” which would be logical, as horses sleep on straw.
Speaking of straw man arguments, they are incredibly abundant in today’s political theater as fallacies seem to be successful tactics. For example, Trump wants a wall on our southern border. That leads Republicans to support the unfair assumption that anyone who opposes the wall is for open borders; Trump even went so far as to accuse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of supporting human trafficking because she opposes the border wall. However, immigration is not an either/or proposition. Both sides are in favor of border security, but if the Democrats must defend themselves against the false charge that they want no restrictions at all on immigration, they waste time and energy that could be spent on reaching common ground. Thus the straw man that Democrats are distracted by and find themselves attacking instead of the real issue.
A big thanks to Forrest Morgan for hearing this one and passing it on!
The speaker uttered this one and then realized a few minutes later he had spoken a perfect malaphor. This is a conflation of “leave (one) hanging” (keep someone in suspense) and “hang (one) out to dry” (to desert in a troubling situation). Certainly you leave clothes out to dry on a nice sunny day so perhaps the speaker had this visual in his mind. A tip of the hat to Dan Obergfell for not only sharing this one but saying it as well!
This amazing malaphor was uttered by Donald Trump, on his reaction to Bill Barr’s performance as Attorney General and how Barr has handled the Mueller Report.
“Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference and maybe I’ll do one after that, we’ll see. But he’s been a fantastic attorney general. He’s grabbed it by the horns,” Trump said.
It is a mashup of “grab the bull by the horns” (take control of a difficult situation) and Trump’s own expression, “grab ’em by the p***y” (stating that since he is rich and powerful he can do anything he wants with women). Given the speaker, it is probably a good bet that the latter expression was floating in his mind when he uttered this malaphor. Perhaps the word “horns” triggered the mix up? A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this gem and realizing it was a genuine malaphor. Excellent work, Mike. Keep those ears open.
University of Virginia basketball guard Kyle Guy was remarking on the 42 point performance of Carsen Edwards of Purdue, even though Purdue lost. This is a brilliant mashup of “hang (one’s) head” (express shame or contrition) and “hang (one’s) hat on (something)” (depend or rely on something). “Hang” is in both expressions and “head” and “hat” are similar sounding and visually close. A big thanks to Tom Justice for hearing this one. Wahoowa!
This one was uttered by Heather McGee on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace. She was referring to people wanting to challenge Donald Trump in 2020. It is a mashup of “waiting in the wings” (stand ready to do something at the appropriate time) and I think “just around the corner” (very soon, imminent). As followers of this website know, MSNBC is known as The Malaphor Channel. Malaphors tend to be spoken when someone is filling up airspace, such as political pundits, sports radio shows, and athletes being interviewed. A big thanks to Guy Moody for spotting this subtle one.
The speaker was talking about a group of people getting what they deserved based on their actions. It is a conflation of “chickens coming home to roost” (facing the consequences of your actions) and the song “When the swallows come back to Capistrano”. This one reminds me of one of my favorite malaphors that I previously posted and which appears in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205
Alabama State Representative John Rogers, in response to questions about his protests outside a hospital that is about to be closed, said “We’ll be here until the cows come home from Capistrano”. Here’s the link: http://blog.al.com/archiblog/2012/11/why_not_give_rep_john_rogers_w.html
Those swallows (or cows or chickens) from Capistrano sure get around. A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.
Noah Rothman uttered this nice malaphor on the MSNBC show, “Morning Joe”, on March 21. He was referring to Trump’s comments about McCain and Obamacare. It is a congruent conflation (two idioms mixed with the same meaning) of “sticks in (one’s) craw” and “gets under (someone’s) skin”, both referring to something that is irritating or bothersome to someone.
So what’s a craw?
A craw is the crop of a bird or insect, the transferred sense of the word to refer to a person’s gullet (Free Dictionary). Perhaps Mr. Rothman is a Frank Sinatra fan, thinking of the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one!