[Ads-l] Obsolete term: "gas pedal" in an electric car =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=93_?=alternatives "potentiometer" or "accelerator"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 27 15:05:35 UTC 2019

Thanks for your responses.

One of my favorite dead (or technologically transformed) metaphors
occurs in the first sentence of William Gibson's influential cyberpunk
novel "Neuromancer". When the book was re-released in 2016 Neil Gaiman
supplied an introduction, and he discussed the shifting
interpretations of Gibson's sentence.

[Begin excerpt from Neil Gaiman's introduction to "Neuromancer"]
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

When William Gibson wrote that sentence line of his novel
Neuromancer—in 1983, a dead TV channel could be only one thing: a
melange of static dots swirling in a formless gray background. We had
all stared at them, at one time or another, as we manually switched
from channel to channel, squinting into the fuzz to see if there were
pictures there, listening to the static hiss.

In 1997, while I was writing a novel called Neverwhere, it amused me
to tip my hat to Gibson: “The sky was the perfect untroubled blue of a
television screen, tuned to a dead channel,” I wrote. In 1997, the
analog world was forgotten and the digital world had been embraced,
and dead channels on TV screens were pure blue.

Last week I asked several friends in their teens and twenties, who had
grown up experiencing their television shows on computers and on
phones, what they thought a television tuned to a dead channel would
look like, if it were a sky. They all had to think for a bit, and they
each were of the opinion that the sky would be perfectly black, a
night sky without stars.
[End excerpt]

Future readers may think that the sky was pulsating orange emblazoned
with the phrase "Streaming host not found".


On Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 5:14 AM Marc Sacks <msacksg at gmail.com> wrote:
> For an even more recent obsolescence, and an indication of how much faster
> the world changes than our language, I refer to clicking buttons on my cell
> phone when using the internet, even though the technically proper word is
> "tap" and for that matter there are no physical buttons on either cellular
> or computer screens. But "button" still makes metaphorical sense, while
> "clicking" a spot on a phone does not.
> Marc Sacks

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

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