live, adj. = "(of entertainment) thrilling"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 29 01:12:36 UTC 2010

At 8:05 PM -0500 12/28/10, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>Surely by "live" they mean you are watching the same broadcasts you
>would be able to watch at home, instead of some previously recorded
>(and typically dated) programs.

More concisely put than my version, but same idea.


>On Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 7:48 PM, Jonathan Lighter
><wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>>  Subject:      live, adj. = "(of entertainment) thrilling"
>>  This could be the "handcrafted" of tomorrow. At the moment it's chiefly an
>>  ex. of an ad technique that comes close to ye olde "bait & switch." It
>>  probably already has a name, though I don't know offhand what it is.
>>  DirecTV offers cable TV channels in flight (on, e.g., Frontier Airlines) at
>>  six bucks a look.  If you don't slide your credit card, the little screen
>>  eighteen inches from your eyes just keeps playing the ad (and a few others)
>>  repeatedly, making it difficult to concentrate on anything but the screen or
>>  sleeping with your eyes shut.
>>  But the point here is that the ad says, "Enjoy Live TV During Your
>>  Flight....It's Live TV That You Control....Imagine Live TV at 30,000 Feet.
>>  We did." But in fact the only reasonably "live" TV you can watch is the news
>>  on Fox and CNN, and certain live sporting events that may coincide with your
>>  flight schedule.  Nevertheless the ad also claims that you can "Access 24
>>  Channels of Live DirecTV and our GPS Live Mapchannel."  Yet few of those 24
>>  channels are "live TV," and only the two news channels are "live" most of
>>  the time.  (I didn't notice any little "TM" suggesting that the phrase "Live
>>  DirecTV" might be a service mark, and thus presumably beyond criticism.)
>>  Some of the TV you can watch really is "live" in the customary sense, but
>>  most is not.  DirecTV seems to be spotlighting the exceptional and
>>  trumpeting it as the typical. (See paragraph one.) But "live," in at least
>>  one of the quotes, must mean something like "really terrific" in addition to
>>  its "legitimate" TV sense.
>>  HDAS includes this hitherto uncommon meaning ("thrilling, exciting,
>>  wonderful") from 1978-80. It is nonetheless startling to see it used in an
>>  advertisement, in cold blood.  Unless it's far more current than I thought.
>>  At any rate, I find it remarkable, but maybe that's just me.
>>  JL
>>  --
>>  "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society -
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