May 26, 2017

Mixed metaphor of the day.

"Trump's Budget Guts The Safety Net, And Other Myths." ("Spending on entitlement programs isn't being cut. At least not in the traditional sense of spending less next year than you spend this year. Trump's budget doesn't touch Social Security or Medicare, and only slows the growth of the remaining 'safety net' programs.")

You can talk about the policy angles. I want to talk about the mixed metaphor of gutting a net. It seems interestingly fish-related, no?

The verb "to gut" means, of course, to take out the guts, notably of fish.
1599 H. Buttes Dyets Dry Dinner sig. L7v, Carpe..Lay it scaled and gutted sixe houres in salt.
That's from the OED. The most common figurative use, historically, is in reference to buildings.
1688 N. Luttrell Diary in Brief Hist. Relation State Affairs (1857) I. 486 The 11th, in the evening, the mobile gott together, and went to the popish chappel in Lincolns Inn Feilds, and perfectly gutted the same.
I think of "net" in connection with fish — a fishing net — but a "safety net" is not a fishing net. The phrase "safety net" — "An extensive net suspended or held above the ground to prevent injury in the event of a fall or jump from a height" — goes back to at least 1840:
1840 Mech. Mag. 31 Jan. 315/1 An objection has been made to my safety net,..that if many persons descend the pit,..a net sufficiently large to envelope the whole of them..would..be inconvenient to manage.
The figurative use is as old as 1877, but I like this one from 1906:
1906 B. Runkle Truth about Tolna vi. 118 The glamour of the honeymoon has to fade... Then you want a safety-net to tumble into from the heights. Money is about the best thing I know to break the fall.
Anyway, what irritates (or tickles) me about the mixed metaphor of "guts the safety net" is that a net has no innards.

As for "innards":
1878 Trollope Is he Popenjoy? III. i. 7 The Marquis was still in bed. His ‘in'ards’ had not ceased to be matter of anxiety to Mrs. Walker....
1903 R. Kipling Traffics & Discov. (1904) 58 There was the cutter's innards spread out like a Fratton pawnbroker's shop....
1932 J. T. Farrell Young Lonigan i. 29 His innards made slight noises, as they diligently furthered the process of digesting a juicy beefsteak....

32 comments:

khematite said...

Right. The media cliche has it that Republicans are forever plotting to "shred" the safety net. Only 309,000 google hits so far for that pairing, but it's a start.

DougWeber said...

Orwell said of these:
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.

EDH said...

Gutting a net makes me think of a fat guy laying face down on a hammock.

Rene Saunce said...

The hack press are dutifully reporting that the ACA repeal and the budget WILL KILL people.

Quayle said...

I'm fine with a safety net.

It's the safey hammock that worries me.

(BTW, Haven't you ever had netgut sausages? You sauté them up in a little butter with some parsley, maybe add a little ketchup. Tastes like chicken.)

Fernandinande said...

khematite said...
The media cliche has it that Republicans are forever plotting to "shred" the safety net. Only 309,000 google hits so far for that pairing, but it's a start.


Actually only 154 results.

Quayle said...

EDH beat me to it. (We need to coordinate.)

Rene Saunce said...

The New York Times describes the economic forecast — in its news story — as "wildly optimistic."

Are they?

It's true that numbers in Trump's economic forecast are rosier than in other long-term forecasts. But that's because Trump expects his policies to increase economic growth.

Even so, Trump's forecast is hardly "wild." In fact, it assumes that annual GDP growth doesn't reach 3% until 2021, and never exceeds it after that. Over the next five years, Trump forecasts GDP growth to average a modest 2.8% a year.




Hack press coordinate their BS talking points.

Rene Saunce said...

Contrast these projections with the eight budgets Obama put out. In his first budget, Obama forecast GDP growth of 4% in 2011 and 4.6% in 2012. (Actual results: 1.6% and 2.2%).


Hack press strangely silent.

Rene Saunce said...

New York Times and MSM coordinated talking points = In depth analysis from the Pelosi-Colbert-press.

**

The Cracker Emcee said...

The skillful use of abstractions in language is beyond the ability of most folks these days. The only way to become skilled is to read. Deep and wide. I doubt many journalists have the intelligence or the inclination.

traditionalguy said...

Talk about a safety net, the Facebook owner wants the Government to pay a guaranteed income for all the people in the world. But he did not want to pay his wealth for it. And he fights to pay slave wages for Tech workers on Visas from abroad.

His Target is any remaining retirement savings of the American middle class.

Strangely, he did not make this offer to the Venezuelans who are already trying it out.

rehajm said...

I see a net made of cat gut. Gutting a net is constructive. Except for the cat.

tcrosse said...

Better to gut the net than to net the guts.

Michael K said...

Trump is taking on the Deep State, which has run the country at least since Eisenhower. They believe they have the right to do so and anyone who objects is to be destroyed.

The furious reaction from the WaPo, the house organ for the Administrative State, gives a preview of the fury that awaits Trump.

Bill Moyers, from the leftist POV, notices something.

But the funny thing is that Republicans have actually done very little to cut it when they’ve been in power. In 1981, Ronald Reagan took office telling the nation that “government is the problem.” People envisioned their dollars frittered away on a bloated bureaucracy. However, since that time the share of the GDP devoted to federal spending has generally hovered around 21 percent. Most of the decline in federal spending as share of GDP happened in the 1990s, when a Democrat was president.

Of course, he omits the critical factor of 1994 and Gingrich as Speaker. That's of course why Gingrich had to be destroyed. He helped but his fate was set once he took on the bureaucracy.

I don't know if Trump can succeed where Gingrich failed. Part of Gingrich's fall was his $5 million book deal and Trump has all the money he wants.

The Democrats are crazier these days and that may help.

wildswan said...

Gutting mixed metaphors from the gutter press

Left Bank of the Charles said...

In the instance the mixed metaphor is being used to support the thesis that the gutting is a myth. That's a tell that the thesis is the myth and Trump's budget is slashing the safety net.

wildswan said...

Internet search nets 309,000 mixed metaphor hits (gross) - "gross", the very word gross, like the shine on congealing bacon fat as it swirls down the drain like Irish clog dancers, winking. Or targeted internet search nets 154 hits (net), Tristram Shandy reports.

Ann Althouse said...

Please wait for a cafe or go to the last cafe if you want to raise random topics. (I'm explaining some deletions I just made.) Please don't discuss this comment of mine here. Go to a cafe.

Bruce Gee said...

Might I suggest that in the metaphor what gets gutted is the content of the net? After all, when we gut a fish, it isn’t the scales we’re removing. Its the innards. So may be this is a more apt metaphor than it seems at first. Of course, its a metaphor about a myth.

A metaphor about a myth. Hmm...

Kevin said...

Here little fish, into the safety net!

EDH said...

Quayle said...
EDH beat me to it. (We need to coordinate.)

I prefer the term "collude."

OGWiseman said...

"Obama made budget assumptions that were wildly unrealistic...that means Trump should get to do the same thing!"

This is how democratic capitalism fails. If you want to be the party of fiscal responsibility, then BE that party. If you care more about other things, then quit claiming to be fiscally responsible.

cubanbob said...

Voting for the House Of Representatives should be limited only to net taxpayers.

cubanbob said...

OGWiseman said...
"Obama made budget assumptions that were wildly unrealistic...that means Trump should get to do the same thing!"

This is how democratic capitalism fails. If you want to be the party of fiscal responsibility, then BE that party. If you care more about other things, then quit claiming to be fiscally responsible."

Pardon me incase I missed it, but I have yet see any Democrat let alone the Democrat Party state I/we are the party of fiscal responsibility. Have you?

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

The net is a device for containment, to restrict degrees of motion. Gutting the net implies greater liberty. A fish just wants to swim. A person just wants to be free.

Bay Area Guy said...

I demanded that my boss give me a raise next year of $100,000. He's only giving me a $25,000 raise. He is gutting my salary by $75,000!!!!!!!!!!!!

The gall, I tell you.

It's almost to the point where you have to ignore and/or mock the left. They really only want 3 things: (1) more government spending, (2) unrestricted abortion access, and (3) gay marriage. They kinda want unfettered illegal immigration too, but that really only has worked in California and possibly Nevada. It hasn't turned Texas or Florida or Arizona blue yet.

Dan Hossley said...

In a world where an increase in spending is referred to as a "cut", a little mixed metaphor seems a small infraction. I do see your point though. It is politicians that refer to increases as "cuts" and we know they lie for a living. Maybe we should hold print media to a higher standard since words are their stock and trade.

rcocean said...

If you can "gut" the "Safety-net", can you "gut" the "internet"?

I think the Republicans are usually accused of "Slashing" the 'Safety-net".

walter said...

Not just whether it is gutting the net..but whether the result will be a net gutting...

walter said...

Regardless, any change is gutsy.