Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Great Thing About Being 'Unwashed'

The other day I used to the term "the great unwashed" in a blog post. I didn't really think about it -- didn't consider where I'd learned the term or how it got into my lexicon.

Well, last night the answer found me. And, wouldn't you know, I learned the term not from academic journals or Shakespeare's plays or any other source that would make me look good.

Here it is in the context from which I must have learned it:

Mr. Burns (to Smithers): "Just give the great unwashed a pair of oversized breasts and a happy ending, and they'll 'oink' for more every time."

Still, it proved to be a useful term, even if I didn't learn it in the most prestigious way. In fact, I guess you could say I pulled a Homer.

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Janet S. said...

The Simpsons may indeed be where you got it from, but it goes back considerably further than that.

kidicarus222 said...

Have you ever read Heideas? The woman who keeps this blog has an annual round-up of linguistic jokes and coinages on The Simpsons. Perfectly cromulent, it is.

June Casagrande said...

Thanks, yes. I hyperlinked one origin to the word "it" in the text. (Kinda easy to overlook.)

Burns is always pulling out great old speak like that. One of these days I'm going to create a compilation of Burnsspeak. (Yeah, SURE I will.)

: )

June Casagrande said...

Thanks for the link, Drew. You've embiggened my online experience!

June Casagrande said...

Fun fact: That HeiDeas post about "Beyon cromulent and embiggens" happened to be published on my last birthday.

kidicarus222 said...

Also, I thought I'd mention that I once had the phrase "open up my eager eye" from the Killers song "Mr. Brightside" stuck in my head. I thought it was a reference to some poem or some famous work of prose, that line, but I only thought to look it up while driving or while unable to use a computer. It bothered me for some months, then I was listening to an "awesome 80s" lunchhour special and heard the original version of the line: "opens up one eager eye," from Nena's "99 Luftballoons."

Total classical reference, right?

June Casagrande said...

Classical, indeed. But your true feat was finding not one but two musical references that I get.

No small accomplishment.

(And don't you hate how you think of stuff like that the least-convenient times? If you only knew any of the Great American novels I've written in my head while stuck on the 405 freeway ...)


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