Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Everything but the kitchen sink

Hillary Clinton's campaign is said today to be throwing the kitchen sink at Barack Obama. The New York Times quotes a Clinton aide's description of "a 'kitchen sink' fusillade." The sink has now made it to headlines: "Struggling Clinton throwing 'kitchen sink' at Obama."

The idiom though involves everything but the kitchen sink, the point being that the kitchen sink cannot be removed and hurled through the air, even when one is intent upon throwing everything at hand.

Related post
The kitchen shink (sic)

comments: 4

Stefan said...

As is almost always the case, George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" comes to mind. In his list of "the various tricks by which the work of prose construction is habitually dodged," Orwell describes "dying metaphors:"

“A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution ) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed . Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line . Another example is the hammer and the anvil , now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.”

Jason said...

I wonder which Hillary will show up tonight: the raving mad one (who looks like a bit of a lunatic) or the polite, somber one (who appeared to give up on her own candidacy). Only time will tell.

Michael Leddy said...

Bravo, Stefan, for the apposite Orwell passage.

Jason, my guess is that we might see something like the New Hampshire moment. But I don't think it will persuade many people.

If Clinton loses any real chance for the nomination and continues to trash Obama, I will conclude that she's seeking to damage his chances in the general election so as to improve her own chances in 2012.

JuliaR said...

I just read in today's paper that they are both talking about throwing out the NAFTA with the bath water. (These idioms made me think about how babies are sometimes bathed in kitchen sinks.) Like Canada and Mexico are getting everything they want with NAFTA and the US is so hard done by. Good grief. I like the idea of Obama but I hope he gets some solid advisors.

(Is idioms the correct plural? Or is it like sheep? Or is there a plural?)