Michigan gave us Motang

This terrific word blend was uttered by our Malaphorer-in-Chief at a rally in Michigan:

During his rally in Freeland, Michigan, Trump told the packed and largely maskless crowd that “Michigan gave us Motang,” then added “Gave us Motown, gave us the Mustang.”

You can hear the clip here:  https://www.mediaite.com/news/watch-trump-tells-crowd-michigan-gave-us-motang-and-twitter-has-a-field-day/

It is of course a mashup of Motown and Mustang, two things that Trump said Michigan gave us.  Word blends are a subset of malaphors.  They are unconscious blends of words to make an unintentional new word. The word sounds or looks correct at first blush, but then on closer examination is incorrect. Examples on my website are “Buckminster Palace” (Buckingham and Westminster, and/or possibly Buckminster Fuller) and “split-minute decision” (split second and last minute).  Word nerds might say these are portmanteaus, but a portmanteau is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word.

A big thank you to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in immediately.  It is actually getting quite a buzz on Twitter.


So to say

This subtle little malaphor was found in a Washington Post article:

“This is going to force Joe Biden to come out of the basement, so to say,” said Robert Graham, a former Arizona Republican Party chairman. “People don’t just want ‘content.’ They want to see him out there.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-to-resume-in-person-campaigning-as-race-with-trump-kicks-into-gear/2020/08/29/c2257ab4-e94a-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html

It is a congruent conflation of “so to speak” and “you might say”, both meaning to be said a certain way, even though the words are not exactly accurate.  Kudos to Bruce Ryan for spotting this one.


tighten the gap

Chris Hayes said this one on his MSNBC show on 9/1. discussing the Presidential race.  “It is possible for Donald Trump to tighten the gap…”  This is a congruent conflation of “narrow the gap” and “tighten the race”, both meaning to make closer.  A tip of the toque to Frank King for hearing this subtle one.

We’re really rounding the turn

Another trumpafor.  Trump uttered this one at a recent news conference, discussing the coronavirus.  Here is the text:

“We’re really rounding the turn. The vaccines are coming. The therapeutics have already come but they’re continuing to come,” Trump said of the coronavirus.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/515223-trump-maintains-us-rounding-the-turn-on-coronavirus

This is a congruent conflation of “rounding the corner”, “turning the corner”, and “rounding the bend”, all meaning to begin to find success after a troubling period.  A big thanks to Fred Martin and Sam Edelmann for both hearing this one.

Trump maintains US 'rounding the turn' on coronavirus | TheHill


Trump has his fingers in all those pots

This one was uttered by Joy Reid on her MSNBC show.  It is a conflation of “finger in every pie” (involvement in several different activities) and “chicken in every pot” ( a symbol of wealth and prosperity).   The latter phrase came from a newspaper advertisement by the Republican National Committee during Herbert Hoover’s 1928 presidential campaign. The ad pointed out that the preceding administrations of presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge had “put the proverbial ‘chicken in every pot.’ And a car in every backyard, to boot.” Although credited with the statement, Hoover never promised “a chicken in every pot.” In a similar vein, King Henry IV of France vowed on his coronation in 1589 that “if God grants me the usual length of life, I hope to make France so prosperous that every peasant will have a chicken in his pot on Sunday.” His assassination in 1610 at age fifty-seven stymied such a plan.

A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in!


Put a little elbow sweat into it

The speaker’s daughter was brushing the cat very lightly.  Wanting to get more fur off since the cat was shedding, the speaker uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a congruent conflation of “elbow grease” and “break a sweat”, both meaning to put forth a large effort or amount of energy to complete a task.  “Work up a sweat” might also be in the mix as it also means to exert a lot of energy to complete a task.  This one reminds me of one of my favorites: “Let’s roll up our elbows and get to work”. https://malaphors.com/2012/07/30/lets-roll-up-our-elbows-and-get-to-work/

A tip of the hat to John Kooser who realized he had uttered the malaphor, and then promptly sent it in.


Equal playing field

Former Congresswoman Katie Hill, who resigned after sex scandal involving her ex-husband, uttered this nice subtle malaphor on the MSNBC show “All In” (Ali Velshi was subbing that night).  it is a congruent conflation of “level playing field” and “equal footing”, both meaning to describe a situation where everyone gets the same opportunity.  Interestingly, Equal Playing Field is the name of a non-profit organization for women athletes.  https://www.facebook.com/equalplayingfield/?ref=page_internal
A big thanks once again to Frank King for hearing this one.

They’re going to leave it all on the table; they’re going to put it all on the court.

This is a rare double malaphor spoken by Van Jones on the Anderson Cooper show 360 degrees.  Here is the excerpt from the CNN transcript:

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think they’re going to leave it all on the table. They’re going to put it all on the court. Look, I think if you are Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, to sit here — I mean, if you think we feel heartbroken, terrified and just, you know, miserable about what’s going on, imagine how they feel.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/2008/16/acd.02.html

The first malaphor, “leave it all on the table”, is a congruent conflation of “leave it all on the field” and “leave nothing on the table”, both meaning to give something 100% or everything you have. The second, “put it all on the court”, is a mashup of “leave it all on the court” (give something 100%) and put it all on the line” (risk everything for something).  Mixing sports idioms with politics is a risky business, and Mr. Jones realized he had uttered a malaphor, but his quick attempt made him step into malaphor doo doo once more.  This unicorn was spotted by Bruce Ryan, and for that he is now elevated into the Malaphor Hall of Fame.  @VanJones68

Did you enjoy this political malaphor?  If so, you will LOVE my new book, “Things Are Not Rosy-Dory:  Malaphors from Politicians and Pundits”, available NOW on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C7GGMG5?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860  Makes a great stocking stuffer!


The little voice on my shoulder

This one was spoken on the show Paranormal Emergency (Season 1, Episode 9).  Here is the clip:

 

This is a congruent conflation of “little voice in my head” and “angel on my shoulder”, both describing one’s conscience.  A shout out to Mike Kovacs who heard this one and shared it.


Broaden the tent

This subtle mixup was uttered on Steve Hilton’s show on Fox by The Mooch, Anthony Scaramucci, when discussing the current demographic base of the Republican Party.   https://www.foxnews.com/us/hilton-scaramucci-clash-over-presidential-politics-best-candidate

It is a congruent conflation of “broaden the base” and “make a bigger tent”, both meaning a group or movement that encompasses the broadest and most diverse members possible.  A big thanks to Frank King who sent this one in.