November 11, 2006

Fully awesome!

Today's Zits cartoon takes on the march of intensifiers (beyond GenX so, beyond intensifier all, beyond totally), and also works in an instance of the "X is the new Y" snowclone (last discussed in the halls of Language Log Plaza here):

Since this last posting about The New Y (as I'm now labeling this snowclone), citing Chocolate is the new black, I've been collecting instances in the wild, with the following finds:

Blue is the new red. (a variety of meanings, some of them opaque to me)

Gray is the New Blonde. (hair color for women)

Nudity was clearly the new black. (model Kate Moss naked at a photo shoot)

How long will... an article about how taupe is the new black. (fashion colors)

Folk is the New Black (Janis Ian album released earlier this year)

After all, 60 is the new 50. (porn actor Peter Berlin at 60)

And as the proper accessory for the well-dressed man of a certain age, a bulging crotch is the new bifocals. (ditto)

... rugby is the new polo. (shirts)

Pink: the New Black. (anal bleaching -- would I make something like that up?)

Small is the new big. (economic developments in the energy world)

I hope you're eating organic!  Because organic is th' new "Fifty" and th' new black. (Zippy on food)

Fat is the new black. (designer Isaac Mizrahi on men's fashions)

Forty is the new 30 (price per dish at some upscale restaurants)

Sicily is the new Tuscany. (vacation destinations)

Here's to 50! ... The new 40! (women's ages)

College is the new high school. (preparation for careers)

Chefs are the new rock 'n' roll stars, cookbooks are the new pornography. (food and sex)

How long can this go on, before the attractions of The New Y wane and it crashes, the way Color Me ("Color me surprised" 'I am surprised') eventually did?  Or will it live on as a durable but no longer ubiquitously fashionable formula, the way One Man's X ("One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter") seems to have done?  Is The New Y going to be the new Color Me or the new One Man's X?

[Addenda: Ben Zimmer supplies a link to a site with a pile of The New Y examples and a pointer to the Wikipedia page, where the figure is taken back to Gloria Vanderbilt asserting, in the 60's, that "Pink is the new black."  And Jim Lewis pulls up around 46,000 hits for, omigod, "Black is the new black".  Shannon Casey notes the popular gossip blog Pink is the New Blog.  And Martyn Cornell tells me that the British satirical magazine Private Eye has been running a column called "The Neophiliacs" for several years that reprints "ever-more ridiculous examples" of The New Y, without, apparently, having any effect on its popularity.]

zwicky at-sign csli period stanford period edu

Posted by Arnold Zwicky at November 11, 2006 12:35 PM