ground zero

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 8 07:30:12 UTC 2000

>I recall reading an e-mail asking about 'ground zero.' Lo and behold,
>I was reading Rickford and Rickford's _Spoken Soul_ (2000:186) and
>read the following:
>"Not surprisingly, the King case would roil Michigan and rattle the
>presses for some time. Between July 1977 and February 1981, nearly
>five hundred news stories on the case were published. The prim
>community of Ann Arbor was not to become ground zero for Ebonics on
>the scale of Oakland (the city where Black Panther radicalism
>started, after all), but shock waves from the judgment would indeed
>be felt throughout the county, with dozens of newspaper commentators
>piling on to snuff out any sympathy for Black English."

Nobody's mentioned in this thread the frequent reanalysis of "ground
zero" as "square one", as in "Now (e.g. after the verdict was
overturned) we have to go back to ground zero".  No explosion, even
metaphorical, OR focus involved here.  (A bugbear of prescriptivists
a while back, to be sure.)


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