[Ads-l] "[Blank] Quarterback" - Second-guessing

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 9 12:03:28 EST 2016

Perhaps so, but check out the use of "shade-tree" in this fascinating
melange of idioms from NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks (Baltimore
Sun, June 30, 1986):

"In picking its battles carefully and in concentrating on civil rights work
the NAACP has had to withstand the criticism of 'the know-nothings, the
nattering nabobs of negativism, the pseudo-intellectuals, the mental
midgets, the Monday morning quarterbacks, the shade-tree captains who stand
on the sidelines throwing stumbling blocks at those who have waged the
fight,' Mr. Hooks said."

When we talked about "shade-tree" in a thread back in '05, we discussed
extended applications where it was roughly equivalent to "armchair," as in
"shade-tree philosopher."


On Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 12:18 AM, Dave Hause <dwhause at cablemo.net> wrote:

> It may be that there's no "shade-tree quarterback," on the model of
> "shade-tree mechanic" because the "shade-tree mechanic" actually DOES
> mechanic work (and may even get paid for it on occasion) while the "arm
> chair whatevers" are actually only critics who neither practice nor are
> paid for the craft they criticize
> Dave Hause
> -----Original Message----- From: Ben Zimmer
> Sent: Thursday, December 8, 2016 12:23 PM
> Subject: Re: "[Blank] Quarterback" - Second-guessing
> Interesting convergence of idioms here... "drugstore" from "drugstore
> cowboy," "armchair" from "armchair critic/strategist/general" (all of these
> "armchair" roles, including QB, are now in OED3 online). But it looks like
> there's no such thing as a "shade-tree quarterback," on the model of
> "shade-tree mechanic."
> On Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 3:56 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> I heard the expression "armchair quarterback" the other day, prompting me
>> to take a second look.  There are at least four "[blank] quarterback"
>> idioms that antedate "Monday morning quarterback," and more than a dozen
>> that followed it.
>> The earliest ones are:
>> "Grandstand quarterback," "As Joe Williams Sees It," Pittsburgh Press,
>> October 17, 1927, page 31.
>> "Cigar store quarterback" (one example), Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,
>> October 22, 1927, page 9.
>> "Sunday morning quarterback," Knute Rockne's syndicated column, Des Moines
>> Register, September 28, 1928, page 12.
>> "Drugstore quarterback" (perhaps influenced by the earlier "drugstore
>> cowboy"), Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, November 22, 1931, page 13.
>> "Sunday morning quarterback" appeared in print only sporadically before
>> "Monday morning quarterback."   "Monday morning quarterback" immediately
>> became the most common one after it first appeared in print, although
>> "Sunday morning" appeared more frequently thereafter as well.  "Grandstand
>> quarterback" was more common than "Sunday morning quarterback" before and
>> after "Monday morning quarterback."
>> Later variants include: armchair, bleacher, radio, parlor, easy chair,
>> soda fountain, day-after, living room, television (or TV), beer parlor and
>> beer garden quarterbacks, although a few of them only show up one or a few
>> times.  "Armchair", "bleacher," "drugstore" and "television" return a
>> significant number of hits over a long period of time.
>> My post: http://esnpc.blogspot.com/2016
>> /12/grandstands-armchairs-and-drugstores.html

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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