junkies in the news

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun May 20 14:30:33 UTC 2007

Back in the '40s and  '50s, "junkies" were among the scariest people in American pop culture. They were like "zombies."  They'd shoot up, laugh insanely, then commit horrific crimes to get money to shoot up, laugh insanely, etc.

But now, "junkie" has become such a weak synonym for "aficionado, one who closely follows (a named pursuit or topic of interest)" that Ryan Lizza can say on CNN's _Reliable Sources_ today that

"They have a good team of reporters who are junkies, and they ask good questions."

The distant antecedent was "Fox News."  What makes the sentence possible is the recent prominence of "political junkie"  (never "*politics junkie," at least in the news media) for somebody who follows politics closely.

Lizza's comment is striking because "junkie" in this sense typically requires an explicit modifier.


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