Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Baskt* (for Basket*)

Today's typo blog entry may be a little bit more of a "group effort" than usual. I was curious about Hillary Clinton's colorful phrase "a basket of deplorables" to refer to the percentage of Donald Trump supporters who would probably be considered—by most standards, if not their own—to be racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic. So I started to search the web for an answer and straightaway came upon this marvelous thread of conceivable origins, suppositions, usages, analogies, ad hoc humor, and other excellent examples of wordplay. One online commenter tells us: "Hillary just called ~30 million Americans 'deplorables' to keep up with Trump calling ~11 million illegals 'deportables.'" Another reader suggests that "it's a riff on 'binders full of women.'" One says: "Many have asked what the collective noun is for Trump supporters, a la 'a murder of crows.' This would seem to be a good suggestion." And yet another one remarks: "'Basket of X' as a general collective sounds like econometrics talk to me (like the 'basket' of goods used to calculate the CPI). My guess is that it's a new coinage influenced by that and 'parade of horribles.'" (According to the language columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Ben Zimmer, "parade of horribles" can be traced back to mid-19th-century New England, "when austere parades of 'ancients and honorables' held on Independence Day were spoofed, burlesque-style, as 'antiques and horribles.'") Like the number of plausible presidential candidates we're currently faced with, plus the number of weeks that there are in a year (no matter how long it's felt like), we found a couple of these in OhioLINK this morning, and a basket of 52 deplorables in WorldCat.

(CNN screen shot, taken from the web.)

Carol Reid

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