March 10, 2014

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the freaking phone. DUKE IS NOW IN THE TOP 10 OF THE U.S. NEWS LAW SCHOOL RANKINGS."

"The school had previously held down the fort at the #11 slot for several years, but has now climbed its way up the rankings. Welcome to the Top 10 of U.S. News, Blue Devils!"
What other kinds of shocking changes will we see when the rankings are released?...

We guess you’ll have to wait until midnight to get the scoop on the latest U.S. News rankings. Until then, all you can do is pray to the rankings god that is Bob Morse and hope that your alma mater fared well.
ADDED: The excited blogger at Above the Law indulges in 2 "hold" clichés: "hold the phone" and "hold down the fort." I'd avoid all clichés myself, but I'd particularly avoid doubling up on clichés that use the same word. Also, don't misuse your clichés. "Hold the phone" is used properly. What is the image we're supposed to get?
I believe this expression originated in the days where reporters needed to phone their stories in to newspaper editors from public phone boxes. As there was often a crush on the phones at the end of an event - like a sports game - the smart journalist would have most of the story written and get to the phone before the game had finished. However, if something exciting seemed to be happening, or if some other news event was being covered and there was some new development occurring, the reporter might even scream - 'hold the phone' - while he went to investigate this new twist in the story.
So, it was cornball to say "hold the phone." It's "held down the fort" which has to go. I think the writer confused holding down the fort with camped out, which both seem military. You hold down the fort is something somebody born in the first half of the 20th century might have said to a housemate when she (or he) was going out for a short time. "Camped out" is the phrase you want for describing those who are stuck in one spot and waiting expectantly.

26 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Please buy my magazine and click the link all you unemployed lawyers!

RecChief said...

is that because of Belle Knox?

RecChief said...

Personally, I don't think "camping out" is military.

We call those excursions "field problems"

Ann Althouse said...

"Personally, I don't think "camping out" is military."

The oldest use of "camp out" according to the OED:

"1748 G. Washington Jrnl. 18 Mar. in Writings (1889) I. 3 We camped out in ye field this night."

RecChief said...

I wasn't in that army.

I stand corrected.

Ann Althouse said...

You know, camping as a recreational activity is pretty recent!

From Wikipedia:

"The father of recreational camping was Thomas Hiram Holding, a British travelling tailor. He experienced camping out in the wild from his youth, when he had spent much time with his parents traveling across the American prairies. Later he embarked on a cycling and camping tour with some friends across Ireland.[2] His book on his Ireland experience, Cycle and Camp in Connemara led to the formation of the first camping group in 1901, the Association of Cycle Campers, later to become the Camping and Caravanning Club.[3] He wrote The Campers Handbook in 1908, so that he could share his enthusiasm for the great outdoors with the world.[4]

"Possibly the first camping ground in the world was Cunningham’s camp, near Douglas, Isle of Man, which opened in 1894. In 1906 the Association of Cycle Campers opened its first own camping site, in Weybridge.[5] By that time the organisation had several hundred members. In 1910 the Association was merged into the National Camping Club. Although WW1 was responsible for a certain hiatus in camping activity, the association received a new lease of life after the war when Sir Robert Baden-Powell (founder of the Boy Scouts movement) became its' president.

"The International Federation of Camping Clubs (Federation Internationale de Camping et de Caravanning) was founded in 1932 with national clubs from all over the world affiliating with it. By the 1960s camping had become an established family holiday standard and today camp sites are ubiqitous across Europe and North America.[6]"

It's like running for fun. "Run for fun? What the hell kind of fun is that?

jacksonjay said...


The Chief was too quick!

RecChief said...

"It's like running for fun. "Run for fun? What the hell kind of fun is that?"

AMEN!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The father of recreational camping was Thomas Hiram Holding...

So when he camped out, was he Holding down the fort?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Personally, I think the writer is holding his own, but if you want to hold him to a higher standard, well, maybe you should hold that thought.

St. George said...

Time for Duke to dust off that portrait of he-whose-name-must-not-be-mentioned and put it where people can see it.

"His name is not on any campus buildings. His only portrait is stored in a locked closet. And after his ..downfall...[he] was so stigmatized here at Duke University — where he earned a law degree — that the faculty rejected a proposal to house his presidential library."

Who can this mystery man be?

JimT Utah said...

Forts are usually pretty immobile, quite unlikely to float off into the empyrean on their own. On the other hand, to hold a fort (or any other psoition) against a determined enemy is a noble endeavour. A friend of mine earned a bronze star in Korea for holding a position while the rest of his unit moved out.

If I were going to rail against the tide of cliches, I'd put a little effort into railing against using incorrect versions of the same. I won't let you get away with, "the proof is in the pudding, either."

The Drill SGT said...

"Hold the Fort" doesn't cause military anxiety, its the other variant that does:

"Hold until relieved"

David said...

Money, money, money!

May not bode well for my Alma Mater, Virginia.

Which makes no difference in my life.

A law school can have a lot of weight in the society and the profession. In Wisconsin, Marquette and UW are both weighty. But so is Harvard.

Nationally, no school can match the throw weight of Harvard. It's big. It's tradition goes back decades. The Mafia has nothing on the Harvards for networking. Virginia my alma mater is big in the south and the northeast. (So Mr. Intelligent Me moves to Wisconsin.)

Maybe Stanford and tiny little super elitist Yale can claim to match Harvard's society wide power. (I'm using missile analogies here, so I would liken Yale to a nuclear sub. It can destroy stuff anywhere but really isn't a decisive force in itself.)

Ye lawyers and law students be comforted (or bummed) by a few thoughts.

1. With the exception of Harvard and maybe a couple of others, every law school is a regional law school.

2. You can get an outstanding legal education at any of the top 25 or more. It can sharpen your thinking and enhance your life.

3. You can also feast on a pile of pretentious crap and have your thought process ruined for life.

It's up to you what to choose.

Krumhorn said...

Well, I see that Cal Western isn't on the list.

...back to work.

- Krumhorn

madAsHell said...

This is so meta!!

You are blogging about a blog, and carping about cliches!!

David said...

War camping and fun camping are different, of course.

My dad loved to camp as a young man. Mr. Ourdoors. Then came WW II and he lived in a tent for over two years. Not a pup tent in the mud mind you but a it will leak and blow over sometimes tent nevertheless.

The war ended when he was 25 and he came home.

Never spent a night in a tent again.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Top Ten law schools. The best-looking horses in the corral outside the glue factory ...

Titus said...

Look at all the fab Boston schools in the top 50....natch.

Titus said...

Is Wisconsin not even the top 50?

mccullough said...

Duke isn't worth the money. Yale is. And Stanford and Harvard probably are. After that, it's not worth the money at most of these schools. Students who could attend Duke Law would get very attractive financial aid packages at some other pretty good regional law schools.

Didn't know that Tricky Dick went to Duke Law School.

traditionalguy said...

I object. Duke tuition promotes pornography.

Titus said...

Duke says it is the "southern Harvard" which means shit because of the "southern" part.

ErnieG said...

Cliches? Avoid 'em like the plague.

Richard Dolan said...

Legal education has changed so much that a law school is no longer a stand-alone institution. All of the better ones integrate the study of law with economics, business, medicine and other disciplines to such an extent that a top law school has to be part of a first-rate university in all those disciplines to earn its rank. I suppose that's one reason why the rankings of law schools change so little over time, and the most highly regarded ones are found at universities that also have top ranked schools of business and medicine.

Those who say it's just a matter of snob appeal -- several commenters above, for example -- are kidding themselves.

Mary Beth said...

David Mitchell on hold down the fort and other things he thinks Americans don't say correctly.