FW: "shower of turkeys" (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed Jan 18 17:13:48 UTC 2012

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

For some reason, when I replied to George's post below, it went only
back to George.  Trying again, for the whole list . . . .

I'd imagine that this is at least somewhat inspired by the now-classic
Thanksgiving episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati", in which Mr. Carlson
(radio station owner) stages a promotion in which turkeys are given away
by being dropped from a helicopter.  It doesn't go well.  Les Nessman
(news reporter on scene) sounds like he is describing the Hindenburg
disaster ("Oh the humanity!"  "The turkeys are hitting the ground like
sacks of wet cement!").  Carlson ends by saying "As God is my witness, I
thought turkeys could fly".  (Wild turkeys can, BTW).

For those who wish to watch:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
Behalf Of
> George Thompson
> Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:24 PM
> Subject: "shower of turkeys"
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      "shower of turkeys"
> -
> From the NYTimes of today, January 17: an article on the disasterous
> sinking of a cruise ship in the Mediterranean.
> =93But I=92d suspect that on a modern cruise liner like that he=92d be
> g
> electronic charts,=94 Mr. Menzies said. To hit an uncharted rock
> s
> that=92s unlikely, but it=92s possible,=94 he said. =93The other
> y is
> that they were just a shower of turkeys =97 incompetent =97 on the
> =94
> But the captain is king on his ship, Mr. Menzies said. =93The man on
> bridge decides everything.=94
> The Times identifies Mr. Menzies as the head of a British organization
> Master Mariners.
> Turkeys certainly have an unfortunate image in popular speech.
> JGreen has a number of items beginning "shower of ...", but not
"shower of
> turkeys" -- he does have "shower of tom tits", which at least are
> He defines the general expression as an unimpressive group of people,
> occasionally an individual.   The "shower" here might refer to a
> meaning all of the officers on the bridge, but, although Menzies uses
> plural pronoun -- "they were just a shower of turkeys" -- what he is
> in the next sentence as saying suggests he was thinking of just one
> the captain.
> For those of you who still don't believe you have read the newspaper
> your fingers are dark with the ink, the story began on p. 1, but the
> passage quoted was on p. 10, col. 2.
> --=20
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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

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