Monday, April 5, 2010

A New Campaign to Save Old Idioms

Vital Speeches of the Day guru David Murray has a fun and moving post up today mourning the gradual extinction of some of our language's most colorful species of phrases.  He bemoans how young people he works with have never heard of old-timey idioms, like "that smarts" or "butterfingers"  or "in the catbird seat," many of which are historically rooted.  And he urges his fellow writers to reject the inevitability of obscurity and rage against the dying of these light-hearted words.

"We're writers, and one of the great benefits of the job is that we have more widespread influence on the language than anyone else," Murray argues.  "I propose a movement: Pick your favorite old word or expression, and jam it into your writing and your conversations wherever it will fit, or even where it won't.  'That dog won't hunt,' you say? Now you're getting the idea."

We're officially enlisting.  We've got the same bee in our bonnet.  We just have one question: where do we get our cat's pajamas uniform?

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