gives good camera

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jul 28 14:17:55 UTC 2008

At 9:40 AM -0400 7/28/08, Baker, John wrote:
>         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
>         I've listened to the Madonna song enough
>that "give good X" no longer sounds unseemly to
>John Baker

I remember the putative graffito circulated in
Hollywood a bit earlier:  "Edith Head gives good
costume" (or "gives good wardrobe").


>-----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
>-- 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 -

The American Dialect Society -

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