Saturday, September 7, 2013

It's All in the Words

By Keith N Fisher

How many of you remember or have heard the words, Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. This dialogue spoken by a character in a movie seems to be part of our culture. What if I quoted, Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead? Would you know where it’s from? The quote is attributed to Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, a union officer in the civil war, and the eponym of a federation starship in Star Trek.

Since Farragut’s story wasn’t written until years later, many doubt he actually said those words. Also, if he could’ve even been heard over the roar of the cannons. Still, it’s a good quote, and the navy used it for recruitment purposes for years.

From, frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn, to I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, sentences and colloquialisms from the media have wriggled into our culture.

I was thinking about clich├ęs and how they influence our society. Also, I wondered how many of them became so familiar. When I talk about, the whole nine yards, most of you would admit to using the expression, but how many know where it came from? Using Google to answer the question isn’t fair.

Some of you might know that dump trucks hold nine yards, and if I were to use the expression it would be in reference to receiving the whole load, or being dumped on, take your pick. Our expressions are interesting. So are the phrases we remember from literature and movies.

Wouldn’t you like to be the guy who gave Sergeant Shulz the words, I know nothing, nothing. Or the writer of Land Before Time who gave Petrie the phrase, Yup, yup, yup? Then there’s the old, One of these days, Alice . . . pow! right in the kisser.

I’m sure you can think of dozens of quotes like these, but I think it would be fun to have a contest. Here’s how it works. I’ll post a quote. You comment and tell us where the quote came from. Everyone who comments will be entered into the drawing for a Walmart gift card. I’ll post a new quote each week for a month. Comment each time for more chances to win. Good luck and let’s have some fun.

This week’s quote is from a movie: As a novelist, I turned out to be a pretty good sportswriter.

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