January 29, 2004

"I, for one, welcome our new * overlords"

John Hardy of the wonderful blog Laputan Logic writes that

Apparently another of N'kisi's remarkable abilities is to uncover yet more snowclones.

This instance was spotted on Metafilter yesterday:

"I, for one, welcome our new telepathic parrot overlords "

Plugging this snowclone template

"I, for one, welcome our new * overlords"

into Google returns 1940 hits.

Indeed it does! And "welcome our new * * overlords" garners another 442, while "welcome our new * * * overlords" nets 235, and "welcome our new * * * * overlords" snares another 38. Perhaps someone with a few spare minutes will compile a histogram of the 2600+ substitutions in these templates, thus giving us all new insight into the mythic fears of the net (or at least of the net segments that have picked up this meme from slashdot, Jonah Goldberg and similar sources).

Danyel Fisher wrote in with the original Simpsons quote (from Deep Space Homer) in context:

News announcer Kent Brockman mistakes a floating ant in a space shuttle experiment floating close to the camera for a giant space ant:

"Ladies and gentlemen, uh, we've just lost the picture, but what we've seen speaks for itself. The Corvair spacecraft has apparently been taken over -- 'conquered' if you will -- by a master race of giant space ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves."

[Update 11/8/2006: note that Goldberg's use of this phrasal template is distinctly not submissive, as explained here with respect to the 2006 midterm elections.]

Danyel's own list of snowclone candidates is here .

[Update: more on variants of this pattern is here.]

[And more on the phrasal templates that some of us call snowclones is here.

Posted by Mark Liberman at January 29, 2004 12:46 PM