Heard on MSNBC

M Covarrubias mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU
Sat May 9 12:38:24 UTC 2009

On May 9, 2009, at 8:19 AM, Victor wrote:

> I would find it hard to believe that "the stupid" and "the ugly" in
> this
> usage (as in "beat the stupid/ugly out of him") is particularly
> recent.
> The people I heard it from first are in their 40s and 50s now,
> although
> it might have been a regional expression back in the 1980s and is more
> widespread now (thanks, likely, to TV).
> As for "the gay" for Maddow, it is not accidental. She mocks the
> conservatives with it because it is not an uncommon expression in "us
> vs. them" rhetoric. I doubt that the self-appointed "anti-sodomite"
> crusaders are familiar with "the Other", but they certainly use "the
> gay" in the same manner.
> On a somewhat different note, I often hear from second-language
> learners, particularly Chinese and Italian natives, expressions like
> "He's _a gay_." I find at least a bit of irony in that.
>    VS-)

maddow's use is different from "the other" form. instead of "the ADJ
___" ellipsis she often uses it in a line like 'he's afraid he'll
catch the gay' mocking the fear of 'gay' as a contagious condition and
a true noun. kinda like "the plague". well... similar to 'the stupid'
and 'the ugly' meaning 'the stupidness' and 'the ugliness' i guess.

or at least that's how i understand her joke.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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