It’s time to throw these phrases under the bus


Originality is rarely a characteristic of news coverage. Politics acts much the same. So, combining news and politics really strains creative thought. Still, it’s time to throw these phrases under the bus.

I initially considered doing this post as either a Miss Communication or an Out on a Limb entry. Then, I realized it’s not about the origins of these phrases, but the tedious repetition of them. So, it’s just a regular old blog post.

Under the Bus

Good gosh! How often is this being used now. Interestingly, the phrase isn’t even that old. Mid-80’s at best and more often cited as 90’s. But, hooboy, is it popular now!

Most, if not all, of us know the meaning of the term. It’s basically betrayal. In today’s news and politics arenas, it’s also omnipresent.

Nobody even tries to use other words. Like, say, betrayal. Nor do they attempt to use other idiom, for instance, “hanging out to dry”. Nope. They’ve got a phrase and they’re sticking to it.

Ad nauseum, in my opinion. Yes, I’m a creative sort, but I don’t think it’s asking too much for people, especially talking heads, to come up with a little variety now and then.

Off the Rails

Well, at least we know this phrase isn’t older than the existence of, well, rails. On the other hand, people use it far more often than the trains from which it originates.

Again, no one confuses the meaning. Something has not gone as planned. Or, in more common and extreme language, FUBAR.

As with the first phrase, this one term seems to crop up more than anything else in its meaning. Sure, there are some slight variations (“off the reservation” is more for an individual as opposed to “off the rails”, for a group or action), but the talking heads again seem to have fallen in love with the phrase.

Fake News

The first term not related to transportation!

While this isn’t a turn of phrase, per se, it has become way too common in all manner of speech. The problem is, it clearly has lost any sense of meaning.

Fake news is as old as, well, communication, I guess. If one were to be really picky about it, the first fake news was probably about an apple.

Despite the current resident in the oval office’s foolish claim to have created the phrase (add that to the long list of silly and easily disproved lies), its use has been prevalent for centuries.

Yet, now, its meaning is co-opted. It is currently used in a corrupted sense. There is no clear idiom or alternate phrase to use because it no longer holds its original meaning: news that is not true.

Now, it is frequently used simply to apply to news that is not liked. The word “fake” is really easy to understand and use. “Disliked” is not one of the choices.

Let’s stop here. I can fill a week of posts with tiresome, repetitive “sound bites”, all of which need retiring. I’m sure you could conjure up a few just sitting there.

In the cause of better communication and just plain avoiding boredom, it’s time to throw these phrases under the bus.

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