December 28, 2006

A little more of The New Y

I don't intend to post new sightings of the snowclone The New Y as they come in -- there are just too many of them -- but I've recently come across two examples that strike me as of more than routine interest.

Meanwhile, as New Year's Day approaches, I've been hoping to unearth instances of "X is the new year": the decade is the new year, decades are the new years, the month is the new year, months are the new years, etc.  No luck so far.

New sighting 1: "Pink is the new gold."  This cleverness from Peggy Orenstein in a New York Times Magazine piece "What's wrong with Cinderella?" (12/24/06, p. 36).  The story is about the "princess" trend for little girls, with everything in the color pink, a trend that is making huge profits (the gold) for Disney, Mattel, and others.  This one echoes the ur-New-Y expression "Pink is the new black" in having pink as the subject and (what can be used as) a color word, gold, in the predicate, while punning on that word.  Anyone unfamiliar with the snowclone would probably have a lot of trouble interpreting the sentence.

New sighting 2: "Doubt is the new religion, but does doubt doubt itself?"  In a letter to the New York Times (12/26/06, p. A26) from Peter McFadden, writing about a recent upsurge in commentary critical of religious belief.  This one is interesting because it can be read literally, parallel to "Doubt is the new trend" and understood as conveying 'Doubt is a new religion', or as an instance of the snowclone, conveying something stronger, roughly 'Doubt has replaced religion'.  My first guess was that McFadden intended the latter, but then I'm disposed to see snowclones everywhere.

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Posted by Arnold Zwicky at December 28, 2006 10:49 AM