Tag: meme

Mrs Clinton’s deplorables meme

Tuesday, 13 September, 2016 1 Comment

Between her coughing attack in Cleveland last Monday and her collapse in Manhattan on Sunday, Hillary Clinton found time to generate a meme: “basket of deplorables”. Definition: “a meme is a humorous image, video, text, etc. that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users.”

In a speech she gave at a New York City fundraiser on Friday night, she said: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” Thus, was the “basket of deplorables” meme born.

It prompted Ben Zimmer to post “Horribles and deplorables” at Language Log. Snippet:

Deplorables, whether or not they’re in baskets, fit a pattern we’ve observed in the past: adjectives ending in -able or -ible that are turned into pluralizable nouns… More generally, many adjectives ending in -able/-ible have spawned related noun forms: think of collectibles, convertibles, deductibles, disposables, intangibles, perishables, and unmentionables. Sometimes the noun overtakes the adjective: vegetable comes from an adjective describing something that is able to vegetate, i.e., grow like a plant.”

Donald Trump’s supporters were not interested in the etymology and on Twitter they were quick to post their anger using the hashtag #basketofdeplorable. It should be noted, however, that Mr Trump wished Mrs Clinton well yesterday in a TV interview, saying: “…something’s going on, but I just hope she gets well and gets back on the trail and we’ll be seeing her at the debate.”


I, for one, welcome our old meme overlords to 2016

Monday, 4 January, 2016 0 Comments

Back in July 1977, a film adaptation of the H.G. Wells sci-fi horror story Empire of the Ants, was released. Joan Collins reacts to the ant threat at one point in the movie by declaring, “I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.” And, thus, a meme was born, and it has proved more enduring than those mutated insects were in the world of Wells.

Example: Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published “Biggest technology trends to watch for at CES 2016 in Las Vegas” by Shane Dingman. Snippet:

Bonus category: Next Christmas’s ‘hoverboard’ replacement: These days, convention-goers have been banned from using them on the show floor, but there are another clutch of personal transportation devices ready to get hot for a holiday season. I, for one, welcome our next hip-breaking, head cracking, self-immolating wheelie-gigs.”

The “I, for one, welcome our our new X overlords” phrase survives because it is as flexible as the Formicidae family. It can be used used to express mock submission to an obsessively controlling person, or to suggest that a group or thing is powerful enough to rule over humanity. So, both the rise of the robots and the fear of AI have given it new legs, as it were. It even transcends language barriers.