semantic drift: "officer" PLUS bonus anecdote AND....

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Apr 12 13:05:21 UTC 2008

In my day, plain citizens addressed law-enforcement officers as "Officer" and military personnel by their rank (if known) or by "Sir" (I suppose just about anything from "Mister" to "Bud" was/is also acceptable for servicemen).

  That was back when the earth's crust was still toasty warm. About a year ago, one of the _Fox & Friends_ anchors was interviewing a soldier in Iraq (probably a captain or major) and addressed him as "Officer."  This struck me as odd, but possibly the result of on-air stress.
  But in Mike Judge's 2006 film _Idiocracy_, the non-idiot hero asks a civilian, "Where's Officer Collins?"  (Collins being his own C.O.)  Truly bizarre.  The only flaw in in this otherwise distinguished film.

  Now for the bonus anecdote.  This morning's _F & F_ show ran the clip of Hillary Clinton asking rhetorically, "How many angels dance on the head of a pin?"

  All three anchors made fun of this by asking each other,  "What's _that_ mean?" "Did she make that up or is that some kind of _saying_?" "My grandmother used to come up with strange phrases like that. stuff  like 'more something than Carter has pills.'" "I dunno...."
  The Fox News Channel of 2505 A.D. also features in Judge's movie.

  Finally, Judge tells us that Americans of the 26th Century will find everyday 20th Century American English "pompous and faggy."


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