[Ads-l] A variant use of "gaslight"

Stanton McCandlish smccandlish at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 14 22:16:22 UTC 2018

*Chance*, season 2, episode 3 (air date 11 October 2017), at about 49:30
into the show:

Dr. Chance: "Change rattles him. It's pretty common in
obsessive-compulsives, but it might be something we could use. It's a way
of disrupting his routine, getting under his skin."

Darius: "Gaslight the fucker."

This is closer to the original meaning in one sense (that of
psychologically targeting someone in particular) than the recent usage with
regard to Trump lying about his previous statements and positions (though
the political usage is closer to the original in another way, that of
trying to convince someone[s] that their perception or memory is faulty).
This TV show usage is more generalized than Wallace's 1961 "social attitude
which interprets a given behavior or experience as symptomatic of a
generalized incompetence [as] a powerful creator of shame"; here the intent
was to get a successful businessman who was a suspected serial killer to
lose his usual composure and tip his hand.

Stanton McCandlish
McCandlish Consulting
4001 San Leandro St
Suite 28
Oakland  CA 94601-4055

+1 415 234 3992 <(415)%20234-3992>


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

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