Monday, April 25, 2011


Question: What are some contemporary clichés?

The Philadelphia Inquirer for Friday, April 22, 2011, p. A15, published an article entitled, “In Clichés, there’s Hardly a Deficit,” by Kevin Horrigan. Mr. Horrigan prefaces the body of his article with the following: “To help guide us through negotiations over the federal budget deficit, the committee has invited Mr. Arbuthnot—the world’s foremost cliché expert and a creation of the late Frank Sullivan, of the New Yorker—to testify.” Then Mr. Horrigan, in Q & A format gives us a good sampling of the modern cliché. I have excerpted some of the clichés as follows:

Unsustainable; crushing; massive; unprecedented; back-breaking; structural; mortgaging the future; a mountain of debt; our children’s and grandchildren’s future; in the red; for every man, woman and child; red ink; oceans of red ink; growth in federal spending; reckless spending; explosive growth, skyrocketing growth, unrestrained growth; entitlements; deserving seniors in their golden years; deserving poor; able-bodied deadbeats; equal-opportunity; straight as an arrow; discretionary spending; we live in a dangerous world; wasteful programs; bloated programs; cutting the fat; tightening the belt; families have to live within their means, so why not Uncle Sam? Shared sacrificing; hardworking achievers; fat cats; on the backs of the poor; revenue enhancements; level the playing field; wealth of experience; outside the box; everything is on the table; bottom line.

Comment: That’s a pretty good collection. The whole Q & A article is hilarious. RayS.

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