[Ads-l] Introducing the "mullet doctrine"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 15 12:47:11 EDT 2018

In case it's not obvious, the mullet is relevant here because the haircut
has been characterized as "business in the front, party in the back." (That
expression dates to 2000 on Newspapers.com and Google Books.)

On Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 11:29 PM, Ann Burlingham <ann at burlinghambooks.com>

> Recently brought to my attention, the (new?) legal concept of "the mullet
> doctrine":
> https://loweringthebar.net/2018/07/mullet-doctrine.html
> "This was first reported by Charlie at GeorgiaPol.com, and his headline was
> “GA Court of Appeals Establishes ‘Mullet Doctrine.'” Although mine says the
> court “rejects” it, I think both are correct under the circumstances.
> "Because the majority may have refused to apply the doctrine, but it
> established the term for all time. [...]
> "He then dropped one of two significant footnotes in this case, stating
> that “I see no Constitutional or logical reason to require officers to
> conduct futile business in the front, when the party is clearly in the
> back.”
> "Obviously having read this in the draft opinion, the majority responded
> with its own footnote saying that, respectfully, it was not convinced. The
> case the dissent cited involved different facts, in particular a sign with
> an arrow that stated “Party in Back.” Here there was no sign, and they saw
> no illegal activity from the street. “Under these facts,” the majority
> concluded, “the dissent’s ‘mullet doctrine’ does not ‘get the officers into
> the party out back.'”
> "GeorgiaPol points out that almost certainly, the dissenting judge knew
> exactly what he was doing, even if he didn’t name it the “Mullet Doctrine,”
> the point being that it’s possible to disagree and yet be respectful and
> even humorous about it. The way things are now, it’s always nice to see a
> reminder of that.
> "Also to have another excuse to talk about mullets, because mullets are
> ridiculous."

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

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