gives good camera

Mon Jul 28 13:40:27 UTC 2008

        Current use is probably heavily influenced by the 1990 Madonna song Vogue:  They had style, they had grace | Rita Hayworth gave good face.

        I don't see any earlier "give good face," but from the 11/7/1988 L.A. Times there is:  Face it, Jerome knows how to give good meeting.

        I've listened to the Madonna song enough that "give good X" no longer sounds unseemly to me.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of James Harbeck
Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2008 11:13 PM
Subject: Re: gives good camera

>Is it only the elderly who find this idiom (see HDAS s.v. "give") just
>a we= e bit unseemly for daytime TV?

I can recall seeing "give good meeting" and "give good lunch" back in the '80s; they were, of course, playing on "head," but this turn of phrase (give good X) seems by now to have been around long enough that it's getting tame and may even no longer have the resonances it first had
-- sort of like how "jerk" (to describe an unpleasant person) for many people doesn't seem to be a masturbation reference now. I confess if I were to hear "He gives good camera" from, say, a news anchor, it might make me snarf my beverage at first, but I can't say it would seem unutterably outré to me (of course, I'm only 40).

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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