"turn the other cheek" = 'turn a blind eye'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Nov 14 04:54:26 UTC 2011

In one of the uncountably many radio discussions of the Penn State sex abuse scandal/cover up, a caller to WFAN (New York sports talk radio) complained that Mike McQueary, in telling administrators about the sexual assault committed by Jerry Sandusky against a 10-year-old that he witnessed as a graduate assistant, instead of intervening against Sandusky himself or reporting the assault to the police, was "just turning the other cheek".  This appears to be a reanalysis of the Biblical expression, traditionally used to counsel passive resistance or nonviolent response, dating back to the Gospels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turning_the_other_cheek).  Here, it has shifted to something along the lines of 'turning a blind eye (to)', definitely with a negative rather than positive (if transgressively so) implication.  Or maybe it's more like 'passing the buck', to switch to a poker analogy.  I don't know how frequent this reanalysis is. 

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

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