February 7, 2024

Incorrect "Literally" of the Day.

"Why put out the effort to challenge the Haley effort ahead of time when Trump knows he’s going to win Indiana no matter what? The bottom line is he’s completely unhinged. He is literally off his rocker."

Said Mike Murphy, a former Republican member of the Indiana House of Representatives, quoted in "'Literally off his rocker': Why Trump is fixated on Indiana/Trump’s focus on the heavily Republican state has become a bizarre subplot of the 2024 primary" (Politico).

The straining to characterize Trump as crazy is... crazy. But it's especially absurd to put "literally" next to such a concrete metaphor.

I don't know the origin of the phrase "off his rocker" — the OED finds it in an 1890 "Dictionary of Slang" — but it feels ageist to me, as though the person belongs in a rocking chair... and can't even do that right.

Off one’s rocker and off one’s trolley are two idioms that came into use at virtually the same time....

Off one’s rocker and off one’s trolley describe someone who is crazy or mad, someone who behaves oddly or has weird ideas. The terms off one’s rocker and off one’s trolley came into use in the 1890s and are both most probably related to the operation of a trolley. Trolleys operate by running along overhead electric cables that attach to a metal arm on top of the cab. In the early days of mass transportation, these arms would often lurch off the electric cable. Once disconnected from the electric cable, a trolley has no source of power. Many believe that off one’s rocker is somehow related to the rocking chair. However, the fact that both off one’s rocker and off one’s trolley came into use at the same time, there seems to be a strong correlation.

71 comments:

Static Ping said...

To be fair, Trump is not standing on the shoulders of Keith Richards, at least not presently.

tommyesq said...

Said Mike Murphy, a former Republican member of the Indiana House of Representatives

So is Murphy a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, or a former Republican?

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

Trump does use his energy in odd ways. Nothing new.
He loves to fight the evil GOP! and let democrats off the hook.

rhhardin said...

"Literally," like any word, can be use figuratively, meaning "so much so as to have the effect." That's such a cliche that dictionaries list it as an intensive.

In this case he means literally, and it's "off his rocker" that's figurative.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

The straining to characterize Trump as crazy is... crazy.

Considering that Biden claims to have had a meeting with the ghost of Francois Mitterand, yes!

Big Mike said...

If you don’t understand what Trump is doing at any given time, that’s not necessarily a sign that he’s the one who’s wrong.

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

I know Trump's supporters hate Pence because he couldn't single-handedly overturn the 2020 election. ( D cheating separate point)
when Trump selected Pence to be his running mate in 2016 - I thought it was a big meh. Certainly Pence is good guy - strong moral character... successful governor ... but why pick a person from a solid red state? why not attempt to pick someone from a purple state so as to try and capture that state?
If Trump is the nominee - I sure hope he makes a better selection for VP.

rhhardin said...

One of the scenes in Hogan's Heroes had Nazi infighting and Hogan remarking to Col Klink that they should try having elections instead. That was before our elections were made impossible to audit.

robother said...

"Off his rocker" might be one of those dead metaphors I heard about in English Comp 101. "Literally" is like a whip you use to animate the dead or dying trope it modifies. Or, as someone in these pages (might've been Herself) once remarked, "literally" could usually be understood as "figuratively."

s'opihjerdt said...

If Donald Trump has, at any of his many large homes, a rocking chair, and if he is not on it, then he is literally "literally off his rocker."

tim in vermont said...

"I know Trump's supporters hate Pence because he couldn't single-handedly overturn the 2020 election."

Lol, I find it amusing to see how people, even Republicans, simply assimilate into their whole worldview Democrat talking points designed to keep their cult members from thinking about stuff deeply. Today at lunch I overheard a guy at the next table say "Joe Biden's wife is a *doctor* and Republicans hate her." I felt like saying "Try reading her 'dissertation' if you think she is some kind of intellectual giant," but then I realized that even if he read it, he would not be able to discern its low quality. These are all tropes designed to stop people from thinking further, and keeping them on the reservation.

Quaestor said...

There are literally dozens of pivoting mechanical components known as rockers, some dating back to the 14th century -- rocker verges, rocker cams, rocker this, rocker that. Mechanics have contributed much to our language, chiefly in the form of metaphors. He's really revved up. Her gears are loose. Squeaky wheels get the grease. He busted a mainspring. One of the cross beams has gone out askew on the treadle. I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.

Enigma said...

Off his rocker bad?

Off the rails okay? (train leaving the tracks / crashing)
Over the top okay? (willing to jump out of a WW1 trench to face gunfire and die)
Fan (or fanatic) okay? (likely insane)

Negative words have negative connotations. Pick on age, pick on mental health, pick on poor judgment. It matters not. It's conscious criticism.

TickTock said...

Big Mike said: "If you don’t understand what Trump is doing at any given time, that’s not necessarily a sign that he’s the one who’s wrong." I agree.

I once read that it is very hard for an individual to figure out the reasons for the behavior of someone who has 20 IQ points more than he does. Add 20 IQ points and a couple of hundred million dollars, and the object of an attempt at understanding/explanation is following a different algorithm through life.

No idea how high Trumps IQ is, but it sure as hell is 20 points above most of the MSM commentators.

TickTock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leland said...

"He is literally off his rocker"

HILOHR... whew, I was afraid we were talking anagrams insults again.

Leland said...

err acronym...

Witness said...

the word literally, unfortunately, literally means figuratively

narciso said...

seeing as he enabled the lawfare against general Flynn, recommended fauci and birx to be given top billing as advice, maybe some scrutiny is wanrranted,

gilbar said...

it feels ageist to me, as though the person belongs in a rocking chair.

I assume that he means Trump is coming out of retirement..
No more sitting on the porch, rocking away; while the world goes by.
Trump is LITERALLY.. OFF HIS ROCKER, and BACK TO WORK

Drago said...

Boulder Idiot and GOPe Fangirl: "Trump does use his energy in odd ways. Nothing new.
He loves to fight the evil GOP! and let democrats off the hook."

Big Mike: "If you don’t understand what Trump is doing at any given time, that’s not necessarily a sign that he’s the one who’s wrong."

True.

Tina Trent said...

AArrgh

William said...

Many think that the green light at the end of the dock in The Great Gatsby was some kind of metaphor, but Fitzgerald meant that symbol to be seen as littoral.

rcocean said...

If you want to see how dishonest politico is, notice how they call Mike Murphy a former memeber of the indiana house of representatives.

How people read that and though Murphy was a MEMBER of the House of Reps?

Not only that, Murphy hasn't been in the Indiana House for 14 fucking years! That's right, he left in 2010.

So why did Politico quote this former "House member" like he was in Indiana politics? Well because he hates Trump and he was a major fund raiser for Yeb Bush. Not only that, but he was nominated for "JFK Profile in courage" award for his support for illegal immigration!

He was so disliked by Indiana Republicans that when he ran for CD in 2010, he got 9 percent of the vote.

rcocean said...

Contrary to the propaganda put out by Politico, Trump's campaign is doing what any campaign does, he's pointing out that Haley is filing late and may not make the Feb 9th deadline and insinuating she's "cutting corners" to get under the wire.

I mean, a campaign putting the most negative spin on another campaigns actions? Gosh, that is Terrible and so unusual. LOL!

Of course if Trump was in Haley's place, then Poltico would be reporting how the "Unethical" trump campaign had incompetently missed a deadline and was doing a lot of "shady manuevers" to get under the deadline, complete with Mike Murphy "concerns" about ballot integrity.

rcocean said...

Contrary to the propaganda put out by Politico, Trump's campaign is doing what any campaign does, he's pointing out that Haley is filing late and may not make the Feb 9th deadline and insinuating she's "cutting corners" to get under the wire.

I mean, a campaign putting the most negative spin on another campaigns actions? Gosh, that is Terrible and so unusual. LOL!

Of course if Trump was in Haley's place, then Poltico would be reporting how the "Unethical" trump campaign had incompetently missed a deadline and was doing a lot of "shady manuevers" to get under the deadline, complete with Mike Murphy "concerns" about ballot integrity.

rcocean said...

Mike Murphy is literally spinning like a top trying to destroy Trump.

Trollinator1000 said...

I ask you: is there any more annoying overuse and misuse of a word than Gen Z squirrelling the word 'literally' into fucking EVERYTHING???

D.D. Driver said...

Here's the problem. No one but Trump can win the GOP primary, and he can't win the general.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/02/07/biden-trump-deadlocked-in-marquette-poll-of-wisconsin-voters/72481411007/

We know this. He already lost to Biden once and he barely beat HRC on a fluke. This is a rope-a-dope. Once Trump is locked in as the candidate Biden will withdraw and the Democrats will win in a landside (unless they select Gavin Newsome or someone just as awful). Are we going to pretend like no one saw it coming? Have you seen Biden lately? Do you really think the Democrats are going to just stick to their guns on this and go down with the captain? Just a living legacy of the leader of the band? Give me a break. Joe is toast. And once he is out of the picture we will all watch Trump lose again and all laugh at the next round of dumb conspiracy theories.

For Nikki, it's smart to stay in the race right now. These are very old men and old men can become infirm on a moment's notice. If Trump's ticker gives him problems, I'd rather be Nikki than Chris Christie. Why should she drop out? If there is one race where you really want to be the understudy, this is the one.

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

Drago - TrumpSwab - shorter version:

'Don't question super-Trump. He moves in mysterious ways. Letting Hillary off the hook was more of Trump's super duper 3-d chess.'

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

Tim in Vermont--
You are usually smarter than most TrumpSwabs.
Not sure why you think that I think Jill Biden is a medical doctor?

gadfly said...

Did we change the definition of "literally?" Merriam-Webster did.

The phrase, “he’s off his rocker,” is an idiom. This means that it’s an expression or a combination of words that takes on a figurative meaning. This is different from what the individual words mean by themselves, taken literally. For instance, if someone were to say “he’s off his rocker” that doesn’t mean that he is literally no longer seated in his rocker. Instead, we would understand that it means that he’s crazy.

MW permits "literally" as in a literal sense or manner: actually - which Trump undoubtedly is. So "actually" is a better word to use without any strain on my part. How else do we explain: Trump said Nikki Haley was in charge of Capitol security on Jan. 6?

Limited blogger said...

Trump doesn't just want to win. He must win BIGLY!

Joe Smith said...

'Literally' is not correct, metaphorically...

Michael K said...

Blogger Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

I know Trump's supporters hate Pence because he couldn't single-handedly overturn the 2020 election. ( D cheating separate point)


This is nonsense. Pence was, as usual, outwitted by Pelosi. There were GOP members of Congress who had challenges to the process. Nancy set off the riot before any of them could speak. She had the assistance of the Capitol police chief.

tim in vermont said...

"I once read that it is very hard for an individual to figure out the reasons for the behavior of someone who has 20 IQ points more than he does."

And vice versa.

Drago said...

tim in vermont: "Lol, I find it amusing to see how people, even Republicans, simply assimilate into their whole worldview Democrat talking points designed to keep their cult members from thinking about stuff deeply."

We have some of them on this very blog.

n.n said...

Don't take people for granted. Trump+1

Howard said...

The former Mr. President wants to debate Biden and wants Haley to quit because of desperately seeking to quit sinking.

Of course Drag-o might be correct when they say whatever Saint Donald (Blessings of God be upon them and their Family and Peace) does, no matter how insane crazy or pathetic, one must assume they is making brilliant 9-Dimensional Checkers moves that no one else can possibly see. Because genius and because shut up.

loudogblog said...

rhhardin said...
""Literally," like any word, can be use figuratively, meaning "so much so as to have the effect." That's such a cliche that dictionaries list it as an intensive.

In this case he means literally, and it's "off his rocker" that's figurative."

That's not the way that English works. You are, literally, wrong.

Dude1394 said...

"tim in vermont said...
Lol, I find it amusing to see how people, even Republicans, simply assimilate into their whole worldview Democrat talking points designed to keep their cult members from thinking about stuff deeply. Today at lunch I overheard a guy at the next table say "Joe Biden's wife is a *doctor* and Republicans hate her." I felt like saying "Try reading her 'dissertation' if you think she is some kind of intellectual giant," but then I realized that even if he read it, he would not be able to discern its low quality. These are all tropes designed to stop people from thinking further, and keeping them on the reservation."

Need to go back to basics the question to ask them is what type of doctor. Always with democrat and hell republicans as well ask them question so they will have to either admint they know nothing or at least think to themselves they might need to learn something.

Unknown said...

This is very prescriptivist of you. A descriptivist would note that literally has come to be used simply as an emphatic adverb, something like “really”. I’m sure at point prescriptivists were outraged that “really” was not always being used literally as well…

Drago said...

Howard: "f course Drag-o might be correct when they say whatever Saint Donald (Blessings of God be upon them and their Family and Peace) does, no matter how insane crazy or pathetic, one must assume they is making brilliant 9-Dimensional Checkers moves that no one else can possibly see. Because genius and because shut up."

Its embarrassing just how far you've fallen in your commentary.

I suppose, given reality and your clear inability to deal with it, its to be expected.

Aggie said...

"He's literally gone off the rails we wanted to run him out of town on"

TickTock said...

Tin in Vermont. Re: visa versa. That's why so many people think the world is populated by idiots.

effinayright said...

Trollinator1000 said...
I ask you: is there any more annoying overuse and misuse of a word than Gen Z squirrelling the word 'literally' into fucking EVERYTHING???
****************

Yes! It is squirreling the word "fucking" into fucking everything.

Michael K said...

Howard is confused again.

Of course Drag-o might be correct when they say whatever Saint Donald (Blessings of God be upon them and their Family and Peace) does, no matter how insane crazy or pathetic, one must assume they is making brilliant 9-Dimensional Checkers moves that no one else can possibly see.

Howard is a reliable vote for Biden who is the one playing 9 dimensional checkers. In fact, I'm not really sure what game Biden is playing. "9 dimensional checkers" is as good a guess as any.

chickelit said...

Ah, yet another has-been Republican chooses to attack Trump’s character rather than do the heavy lifting of opposing Trump on the merits. They are all so lazy. They deserve to lose.

Drago said...

https://twitter.com/MJTruthUltra/status/1755295437261533351?t=56lmGsgrErJxCqKulPF8cA&s=19

Howard will be along shortly to explain precisely how Stephen A Smith is a neo-confederate.

Mary Beth said...

People in states where "everyone knows" who's going to win (or who have primaries that are so late they don't matter) appreciate when a candidate makes an appearance. It's nice not to be taken for granted or ignored. He's putting in the effort.

Gunner said...

D.D. Driver: Having Dementia Joe withdraw will be admitting that Trump and his supporters were right about the forward and the Dems were wrong. MSM would rather die than say that.

boatbuilder said...

Off Our Rockers, Actin' Crazy
With the Right Medication We Won't Be Lazy
Doin' the Old Folks Boogie
Down On the Farm
Wheelchairs, They Was Locked Arm in Arm
Paired Off Pacemakers With Matchin' Alarms
Gives Us Jus' One More Chance
To Spin One More Yarn


"Old Folk's Boogie" --Little Feat

Scott Patton said...

"Quaestor said...
I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition."
Nobody expects a Spanish Inquisition, so it's excusable to blow a gasket when confronted with one.

Iman said...

“If Trump is the nominee - I sure hope he makes a better selection for VP.”

Joe Biden is corrupt… Who - in your estimation - should he pick… who are your three best suited?

boatbuilder said...

William--heh.

You've been waiting a long time to use that one, right?

Mea Sententia said...

Everyday I scan the NYT and Althouse, and it's like everybody is literally off their rocker. Or the trolley has derailed. I'd be happy for normal again. Or boring, boring would be good.

tim in vermont said...

"That's why so many people think the world is populated by idiots."

Ha!

Iman said...

“I'd rather be Nikki than Chris Christie.”

You be you, DeeDee!

Jim at said...

Wouldn't it be nice if these 'republicans' spent as much time beating the shit out of the Democrats as they do Trump ...

pacwest said...

Its embarrassing just how far you've fallen in your commentary.

Uh, not really. Howard's comments haven't changed that much since he's been frequenting the place. Its just that the poor Socrates imitation gets stale pretty quickly.

Yancey Ward said...

Howard has been trying to raise his testosterone levels all week. He first tried NoFap February but by today he was down to NoFap 7 PM.

Yancey Ward said...

Someone should try to get "None of the Above" on the Indiana primary ballot to give Haley some competition for 2nd place.

PM said...

In the San Fernando Valley 'literally' is the college version of 'totally'.

Drago said...

Boulder Idiot and GOPe Fangirl: "Drago - TrumpSwab - shorter version:

'Don't question super-Trump. He moves in mysterious ways. Letting Hillary off the hook was more of Trump's super duper 3-d chess.'"

Its pretty clear Boulder Idiot is not taking the GOPe immigration bill loss very well.

These are difficult times for the McConnellites.

I suggest we give Boulder Idiot and pals some space to work thru their disappointment.

Still, there is hope for Boulder Idiot and GOPe pals as its rumored Schumer has scheduled a trip to Ukraine in 2 weeks and he wouldnt do that if there wasnt a backdoor deal for Boulder Idiot's GOPe heroes to stick another knife in the back of the republican voters.

So keep your chin up and keep smiling Boulder Idiot! You still might get the biggest GOPe win you've had in years that you can lord over those horrific, deplorable, bitter clinger, listless vessel, walmart visitin' Trump voters!

And make sure you keep donating $$$ to Mitch and gang! I hear they are already cranking up to slide another $15M to Murkowski...and her next election isnt for 4 more years!

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

"literally" is like the word "Like"

Like, literally, man.

American. over-used. 100% annoying. try to stop!

Mr Wibble said...

Here's the problem. No one but Trump can win the GOP primary, and he can't win the general.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/02/07/biden-trump-deadlocked-in-marquette-poll-of-wisconsin-voters/72481411007/


Marquette's last poll before the 2020 election had Biden +5. The actual result? Biden +0.7. So they were off by over four points. Over the course of the year they polled Biden ahead by 3-6 points, so the gap never closed.

https://www.realclearpolling.com/polls/president/general/2020/wisconsin/trump-vs-biden

If Trump is polling neck and neck with Biden, then it means he's likely ahead.

TaeJohnDo said...

Many think that the green light at the end of the dock in The Great Gatsby was some kind of metaphor, but Fitzgerald meant that symbol to be seen as littoral.

Son of a beach! Nice one!

walter said...

I am not a mechanical engineer nor armchair carpenter..butt..I find suspect claims of someone being both off their rocker and unhinged.
I mean..far easier to imagine a brain riddled pedo puppeteered into the presidency circa 2020.
(Back into the float tank Howie..blub, blub)

Drago said...

"The Senate is meant to be the world's greatest deliberative body.

It’s not so deliberative when Senate GOP leadership routinely colludes with Democrats to short-circuit consideration of policies backed by Republicans."---Senator Mike Lee

Uh oh. Certain commenters at Althouse blog are not going to react well to this criticism of GOPe-ers.

mikee said...

Trump being "off his rocker" is one thing that may not matter to voters. Biden's dementia was present before 2020, and that dementia (more obvious now) didn't matter to his voters or vote harvesters. What may matter more, not just to voters but to prison guards, is Trump's conviction on any one of the many felony indictments raised against him.

Unhinged presidential candidates are often later known as Presidents. Presidential candidates in prison are convicted and sentenced prisoners.

Rusty said...

Here ya go, Ann.
2.
a rocking device forming part of a mechanism, especially one for controlling the positions of brushes in a generator.

Which blends nicely with trolly.