ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Wed May 25 12:54:00 UTC 2011

Nonsense, the "elderly" are perfectly capable of understanding this mild bit if metonymy  (though perhaps the senile are not). A "narrative" is a 'story' not a "history."  "Terrorism" here means 'ideologue terrorists'. Just as "the poisonous narrative of Tea-Party ideology" will mean ''the poisonous story told by Tea-Party ideologues', so too "the poisonous narrative of terrorism" clearly means 'the poisonous narrative as told by terrorist ideologues'. It is ridiculous to consider every passing semi-metaphor as a shift in meaning; and just because one has recently noticed it does not make it "recent."

"On the back foot" appears to be a mere slip of the tongue, a blend of (?) "on the back burner" and "on the wrong foot" (though that interpretation does not seem to lead to the reading that JL gives it).

On May 25, 2011, at 8:09 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> In the recent sense of "propaganda story; partisan version of events, etc."
> This morning David Cameron expressed hope that young people in the Arab
> world will not listen to "the poisonous narrative of terrorism."
> To the elderly, that would mean that knowing the history of terrorism is
> poisonous.
> Cameron also observed that the Taliban "is on the back foot" in Afghanistan,
> i.e., "on the defensive; at a disadvantage."

The American Dialect Society -

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