[Ads-l] speaking of deflate-gate, PSI Boston, ballghazi,...

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 26 02:23:56 UTC 2015

On Jan 25, 2015, at 8:30 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 12:48 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> Is there anything new on "throw under the bus"?
> [...]
>> The wiki entry (https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__en.wikipedia.org_wiki_Throw-5Funder-5Fthe-5Fbus&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=qQpaVKFMy5wZa-bJVwpt8GlColkWUhKSEJuvCCjJA3Q&s=5c-Oe9TuWvjTu-m_zr2QFtiB3z0vuC6O4rbvOOwS23k&e= ) quotes
>> Geoff Nunberg on the plethora of uses of the phrase during the 2008
>> primary campaign and cites Grant's Double-Tongued Dictionary for a 1991
>> cite.  Are there any new antedates or theories on who came up with what
>> is, after all, a remarkably vivid and specific metaphor?
> In a 2011 thread, Garson supplied a 1985 cite for "shove under the
> bus" with the relevant meaning, in an article by the British political
> analyst Dennis Kavanagh:
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__listserv.linguistlist.org_pipermail_ads-2Dl_2011-2DJune_110384.html&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=qQpaVKFMy5wZa-bJVwpt8GlColkWUhKSEJuvCCjJA3Q&s=ZyWdSHstOUlkHoPWA_tH9YSPwKihMYQvdK5b46lhUOQ&e= 
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__listserv.linguistlist.org_pipermail_ads-2Dl_2011-2DJune_110398.html&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=qQpaVKFMy5wZa-bJVwpt8GlColkWUhKSEJuvCCjJA3Q&s=cpK2PwaZUCLAGH3tj8_L-ZFSslgiQ0pI6dmN7Gy9CU0&e= 
> I haven't seen anything earlier than 1991 for "throw under the bus,"
> as given on Double-Tongued:
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__web.archive.org_web_20070505063632_http-3A__www.doubletongued.org_index.php_dictionary_throw-5Fsomeone-5Funder-5Fthe-5Fbus_&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=qQpaVKFMy5wZa-bJVwpt8GlColkWUhKSEJuvCCjJA3Q&s=IZ9p4M6GodVdi19GUc_-aFOn_NiaqtyIQHWcnc6wyAE&e= 

Right, I was surprised that it hadn't been around longer.  The earlier ones above in Garson's post do include the sense of getting rid of someone who's an impediment, but not the leading component of the current use, which involves someone in a position of power scapegoating a former ally or aide (as in the John Edwards affair, among others, apparently  by Grant's 1991 Colorado Springs cite).  It seems to me as though this sense may have developed as a narrowing of the earlier usage.  
> (Grant brackets the "on the bus"/"under the bus" quote from David
> Remnick's 1984 Washington Post article about Cyndi Lauper, often
> misattributed to Lauper herself. I don't really think it's relevant to
> the scapegoating usage, though.)
> --bgz

Right, I agree that that one isn't relevant, whether it was Remnick or Lauper, since it's the agency and intention that's involved, not the unfortunate's (sub-bus) location.


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