The political world is a virtual gold mine — scratch that, minefield — for Detestable Phrases. And with all the talk of Barack Obama and Reverend Jeremiah Wright and denouncing and renouncing, it’s no surprise that the blogosphere is ablaze with commentary on the Illinois senator’s move to throw his former pastor under the bus.
As the New York Times noted, even bloggers are getting sick of all this throwing-individuals-under-buses business. “Obama Kicks Wright in the Junk,” John Cole writes on his Balloon Juice site — “because I refuse to say he threw him under the bus, which is now my least favorite expression in the English language.”
Ours too, Mr. Cole.
“Where did it come from?” asks Newsweek, terming it the “leading cliché of the political blame game.” “Why is it suddenly ubiquitous?”
In fact, Newsweek says it better than I ever could, in “Who’s to Blame for ‘Under the Bus’?”
“The underlying principle is simple: once a person says “throw him under the bus,” the phrase lodges itself in the foreground of the mind, where it becomes the first phrase retrieved in conversation. Parrots do the same thing.”
Thanks, Tony Dokoupil, for finally explaining why and how our beloved politicos and talking heads have become spokes(wo)men for Detestable Phraseology. The answer, put simply: They have lazy brains. Let’s just hope superdelegates don’t start drinking the Clintons’ “Recipe for a Comeback” Kool-Aid any time soon, or else we’ll have a bigger viral phrase problem on our hands.