It's a good thing
JMB at STRADLEY.COM
Fri Jun 21 03:30:47 UTC 2002
There's a subtle difference in emphases. "It's a good thing!", meaning the alternative would be very bad, has been around for a long time, as Barry has already shown. "X was a Good Thing" is in 1066 and All That (which I'm currently reading to my 10-year-old daughter - not an obvious choice, but she seems to like it O.K.). Martha's by-word is "It's a _good_ thing."
I don't know how you would go about antedating distinctions that are this subtle.
From: Jesse Sheidlower [mailto:jester at PANIX.COM]
Sent: Thu 6/20/2002 7:26 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: It's a good thing
On Thu, Jun 20, 2002 at 07:08:32PM -0400, Leslie Savan wrote:
> The press is quoting Martha Stewart's signature line a lot these
> days: "It's a good thing." It's a good way to imply that she's done a
> bad thing.
> I THINK I heard "It's a good thing" (with just a dab of irony) long
> before it became a Martha shtick. But maybe I'm wrong. And I really have
> no sense of the chronology.
> Does anyone know if Stewart "coined" it--as much as one can coin
> these four words strung together? Or did she merely popularize it, and
> did people started saying it more because of Martha, maybe even feeling
> Martha-like as they said it? Or was it already an entrenched popular
> phrase, and did Martha just borrow it as her own personal slogan? Any
> ideas? Any chronology?
I believe the locus classicus for this phrase is _1066 and All That,_ the
1930 history parody.
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