It's a good thing

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.
John Baker

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: Jesse Sheidlower [mailto:jester at PANIX.COM] 
	Sent: Thu 6/20/2002 7:26 PM 
	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.
	Jesse Sheidlower

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