July 08, 2007

Iraqi reversal

The web comic Overcompensating returns to Snowclone World with an occurrence of a chiastic snowclone that originated with a Yakov Smirnoff catchphrase:

The last time we looked at an Overcompensating snowclone, it was a variant of the Eskimo N figure that gave snowclones their name.  Now it's a figure that Mark Liberman first posted about here on 1/29/04 in "In Soviet Russia, snowclones overuse you" and that made it into the snowclone database on 5/22/07 under the heading "In Soviet Russia, X Ys you!" (a.k.a. "Russian reversal"). 

The general form is "In P, X Ys you" or, even more generally, "In P, X Ys Z", where P is a placename, Y a verb, and X and Z the subject and object, respectively, of Y.  We would normally expect "Z Ys X", but instead we get the reversed "X Ys Z": "TV watches you" instead of the expected "you watch TV" (in the Smirnoff original), "snowclones overuse you" instead of the expected "you overuse snowclones" (in Mark's title), "church and state separates you" (why singular "separates"?) instead of "you separate church and state" (in the cartoon).

In any case, we have Weedmaster P (who's something of a pothead) deflecting Jeffrey's pun by responding with another type of play with words -- but one that has no visible relevance in the context.

(Hat tip to Hannah Flaherty.)

zwicky at-sign csli period stanford period edu

Posted by Arnold Zwicky at July 8, 2007 01:23 PM