[Ads-l] "Monkey this up"

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 30 15:56:44 EDT 2018

In the full video he says, basically, that Gillum is too liberal Florida, and then says:

"I think he has huge problems with how he's governed Tallahassee, but he is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views, and he's a charismatic candidate.  And I watched those Democratic debates and none of that is my cup of tea, but he performed better than the other people there, so we've got to work hard to keep Florida going in a good direction.  Let's build off the success we've had on Governor Scott.  The last thing we need to do is to monkey this thing up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.  That's not going to work, it's not good for Florida."

So clearly, he thinks that switching Florida from what he sees as sound, conservative fiscal leadership under Governor Scott to some "far-left" socialist mode of governance would "monkey up" their successful economy.  I've never heard the expression before, and I would have just thought it was a normal mash-up, intentional or not, of "muck up" and "throw a monkey in the works".  He was speaking very fast, with barely a pause between sentences, so it wouldn't have been the most surprising thing in the world to "monkey up" an idiom or two.

But it is interesting that the expression is out there, and apparently people use or have used it to mean the same thing.

So what is more likely, that a candidate used a normal, innocent, race-neutral idiom in a conventional, race-neutral manner, or that a white candidate squaring off against a black candidate in the deep-south thought that his racist followers were so stupid that they needed him to use a coded dog-whistle to realize that they should vote against a black man, even though anyone who is open to being swayed by such a dog-whistle probably wouldn't vote for that black man in the first place, especially when most of those voters would likely never have thought of voting for a liberal, socialist-type in the first place?

And as far as "articulate spokesman for those far left views," he wasn't saying "he's an articulate black man", he was saying he did a better job of articulating those kinds of views in a debate with other candidates, and that may be why he won.

Joe Biden called Obama the "first, sort of main stream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice looking guy."  Clearly he didn't misspeak, and he was drawing a specific connection between race and "articulate".   And Obama selected him as his running mate.

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2018 1:38 AM
Subject: Re: "Monkey this up"

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Subject:      Re: "Monkey this up"

I'm not familiar with Ron DeSantis nor his typical speech history. When I l=
istened to the Fox video, there seemed to be a cut or edit between the part=
 in which he called Gillum "articulate" and the part where he used "monkey.=
" Does anyone have the full transcript? I wonder if there was a "but"--high=
 praise but low prospects--divider?

And has anyone brought up Biden in 2007:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate an=
d bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a s=
torybook, man." (Without a "but"?)


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