A pun is its own reword September 16, 2009 10:36 AM   Subscribe

The first time the expression "on the blue" was used as a euphemism for appearing on the front page of MetaFilter was coined by turaho fittingly when Nina Simone died.
posted by wcfields to MetaFilter-Related at 10:36 AM (61 comments total)

And now... the rest of the story:
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:38 AM on September 16, 2009


...And that's the way it is.
posted by Atreides at 10:41 AM on September 16, 2009


...and turaho?...he grew up to be Dag Hammarskjöld...
posted by Iridic at 10:41 AM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


ciao.
posted by gman at 10:44 AM on September 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


I miss pasties.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:56 AM on September 16, 2009


see, you can tell when wcfields is drunk posting because his nose gets red and swollen.
posted by shmegegge at 10:59 AM on September 16, 2009


Anyone who hates FPPs about dogs and kids can't be all bad.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 AM on September 16, 2009


Man, only 45 comments? Nina Simone would get hundreds today. MeFi was so much smaller back then.
posted by languagehat at 11:12 AM on September 16, 2009


"Blue ball, corner pocket..." (pushes cue through felt, falls over.)
posted by Jofus at 11:16 AM on September 16, 2009


That may have been the first use of "on the blue" by itself, however, "on the blue page" was used in MeTa on 9/24/2001. In a thread about how the quality of posts on the front page has gone down due to the influx of new members who don't get what the site is about. At about the same time, mathowie was getting fed up with the bickering and about ready to shut the whole thing down. Glad you changed your mind, Mr. Haughey; pay no attention to those 8 favorites the comment got (six years later?).
posted by TedW at 12:17 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Into the Blue is a 2005 film starring Paul Walker and Jessica Alba. It was directed by John Stockwell. The film was distributed in North America by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, and was distributed overseas by 20th Century Fox. This film is loosely based on the 1977 film The Deep which is based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name.
posted by quin at 12:17 PM on September 16, 2009


Deep Blue Sea is wonderfully cheesy disaster/horror/action flick.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:31 PM on September 16, 2009




I live in a blue house with a blue window....
posted by blue_beetle at 12:39 PM on September 16, 2009


I live in a blue house with a blue window...

For a second there I thought my phone was ringing.
posted by kmz at 12:42 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


For a second there I thought my phone was ringing.

Ringing you up ... from 1999?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:51 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


pay no attention to those 8 favorites the comment got (six years later?).

Can't speak for the other 7 folks, but mine was of the bookmark variety, not the approval variety.
posted by dersins at 12:56 PM on September 16, 2009


What would be more appropriate here, taters or Todd Lokken?
posted by fixedgear at 12:58 PM on September 16, 2009


Ringing you up ... from 1999?

Classical music is timeless.
posted by kmz at 1:02 PM on September 16, 2009


While it's not very well-known or appreciated, Lou Reed's 1982 album The Blue Mask is probably his best, not least because it features the guitar stylings of the great punk guitarist Robert Quine.
posted by koeselitz at 1:05 PM on September 16, 2009


Classical music is timeless.

Bach would agree.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on September 16, 2009


however, "on the blue page" was used in MeTa on 9/24/2001. In a thread about how the quality of posts on the front page has gone down due to the influx of new members who don't get what the site is about.

I can't believe you're just gonna dismiss the camgirlz like that. Their little escapade on MeFi and the resulting stuffy, shuffling uproar amongst the entrenched MeFites is one of the great Entertainments hosted here.

kthxbi<333
posted by carsonb at 1:08 PM on September 16, 2009


D'you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?
posted by Justinian at 1:14 PM on September 16, 2009


euphemism?
posted by ericost at 1:15 PM on September 16, 2009


Bach would agree.

Eiffel 65 did start out as a string quartet, after all.
posted by kmz at 1:22 PM on September 16, 2009


A euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that is vulgar.
Unless you are implying that MetaFilter is vulgar, "on the blue" is a metonym.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:27 PM on September 16, 2009


It's weird to think how different (and yes, better) Mefi is now than it was in 2001.
1) Great moderators/admins who generally don't play favorites, but do try to respect intent. (not that mathowie was horredous on his own, but who doesn't appreciate jessamyn and cortex and vacapinta?)
2) The $5 account fee.
3) AskMefi and the subsequent posting limits (man, was THAT a contentious discussion or what?)

/ass-kissing
posted by muddgirl at 1:27 PM on September 16, 2009


Ringing you up ... from 1999?

THE CALL IS COMING FROM OUTSIDE THE DECADE!

A euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that is vulgar.

My gut (horrendously colored by my personal usage habits) suggests that while that's certainly the classic formal definition, 'euphemism'-as-neutral-substitution is a pretty common lay usage at this point.

I would check the OED, but my library is in my pants and I'm having one of my rare travel-time moments of pantslessness so it will have to wait.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:08 PM on September 16, 2009


My gut is pres. horrendously colored regardless of the context, to be fair. I rarely take it out in public.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:09 PM on September 16, 2009


Impressive definition in your pants, there, cortex. Must come in handy for common lay usage.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:13 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The OED defines "euphemism" as "1. That figure of speech which consists in the substitution of a word or expression of comparatively favourable implication or less unpleasant associations, instead of the harsher or more offensive one that would more precisely designate what is intended. 2. An instance of this figure; a less distasteful word or phrase used as a substitute for something harsher or more offensive." American Heritage has "The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive."

Good thing I put my OED in my pants this morning.
posted by Zed at 2:15 PM on September 16, 2009


Jeepers creepers. It doesn't make any sense to use "euphemism" in a neutral context, because you'd have to invent another word to take on the traditional meaning. It would be like having the word "hot" mean "lukewarm". It would automatically lose its traditional meaning.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:56 PM on September 16, 2009


Can't we just use the word "nickname"? "The Blue" is a nickname for MetaFilter, aka MeFi.
posted by muddgirl at 3:03 PM on September 16, 2009


a thread about how the quality of posts on the front page has gone down due to the influx of new members who don't get what the site is about.

for those of us who weren't around in 2001, what the hell is a camgirl? I'd google it, but I'm afraid of what might find
posted by Think_Long at 3:17 PM on September 16, 2009


It's weird to think how different (and yes, better) Mefi is now than it was in 2001.

Yeah, we bad. We nationwide.
posted by quin at 3:29 PM on September 16, 2009


Is this where I can mention that a 39:57 (short of 40:00, so that it wouldn't be classified as an album) version of "Blue Room" is the longest single to ever reach the UK charts. Much longer than the magnificent "Blue Monday" (nearly seven-and-a-half minutes).
posted by tellurian at 3:39 PM on September 16, 2009


Somebody totally blue it.
posted by wendell at 4:44 PM on September 16, 2009


Goodbye Blue Monday?
posted by fixedgear at 4:54 PM on September 16, 2009


Your Blue Room - Passengers: one of my favorite U2 songs and totally underrated.
posted by kmz at 5:14 PM on September 16, 2009


Jeepers creepers. It doesn't make any sense to use "euphemism" in a neutral context, because you'd have to invent another word to take on the traditional meaning.

Eh. It doesn't make sense to do a lot of things that language/usage does, if you try to see those things through the lens of some invented rational structure for natural language.

I'm fully prepared to accept that the neutral-euphemism usage I'm arguing for is not actually that much in evidence and I'm an outlier on the subject, but the notion in general of words with specific meanings taking on more general or somewhat different related meanings in lay usage over time (in some cases to the point only of being contentious usage issues, in other cases to the point where the useful meaning of the word has shifted entirely to the newer usage) should not be unfamiliar to anyone who has spent a little time looking at the evolution of natural language over time. Likewise, that those shifts occur without either first seeking the permission of those who prefer the existing meaning or leading to the collapse of efficient human communication isn't controversial stuff.

The word "euphemism" is not, any more than any other word, some rigid gem wholly formed beneath the soil of Language only to be later uncovered by verbal miners—it's an arbitrary symbol that has by one path or another come to be associated with a given meaning, the semantics of which are granular rather than monolithic. Altering that meaning along one semantic axis (vulgarity-value, or whatever you want to call it) while holding the meaning along other axes (the structural notion of nickname/placeholderness) is a pretty natural and explicable type of usage shift.

In that sense, regardless of the "sensibility" of the impetus of change or the value of that change when seen through some arbitrarily well-ordered Wilkinsian lens, the actual notion of the shift in meaning makes a great deal of sense; the how is very straightforward, even if the why hovers over the head of the guardians of well-ordered language like some horrid banshee wail.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:34 PM on September 16, 2009


I'm fully prepared to accept that the neutral-euphemism usage I'm arguing for is not actually that much in evidence.

Yeah, that was my point.
And where did you find all that straw man shit? In your pants?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:05 PM on September 16, 2009


Yes, language changes, but a "euphemism" in my experience is always the substitution of a more favorable word for a less favorable word.

Calling it "the blue" is merely nicknaming, not euphemising.
posted by ericost at 6:34 PM on September 16, 2009


I just googled "Wilkinsian lens" and was startled to find:

nothing (yet)

Thus, cortex discussed the evolution of language using a completely new expression the world has never before seen, which is awesome.

I tip my Wilkinsian fedora to you!
posted by brain_drain at 6:40 PM on September 16, 2009


oh shit now I am awesome too!
posted by brain_drain at 6:42 PM on September 16, 2009


fixedgear: Goodbye Blue Monday?

Is that the day before Ruby Tuesday?
posted by flatluigi at 10:39 PM on September 16, 2009


Is that the day before Ruby Tuesday?

And that's the day before Wednesday Addams.
posted by crossoverman at 10:50 PM on September 16, 2009


Thursday afternoon is more pleasant.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:51 PM on September 16, 2009


And where did you find all that straw man shit? In your pants?

That would require me to be wearing them. We've been over this. HELLO NEW ORLEANS!
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:05 PM on September 16, 2009


Now I've got Friday on my mind.
posted by tellurian at 11:40 PM on September 16, 2009


Before 'on the blue', the phrase that was most commonly used was '16 dirty miles up a dead baboon's ass', as I recall. So, yeah, totally euphemistic.

Also, descriptivism gone mad is the political correctness gone mad of the 21st century Metafilter.

Also also, do strawmen shit, and if they do, do they shit wheat? How much wheat could a strawman shit if a strawman could shit wheat?

These and other questions answered: later.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:53 AM on September 17, 2009


The word "euphemism" is not, any more than any other word, some rigid gem...

It may not be rigid, but it does have structure. Euphimism is from the Greek, the eu- prefix meaning "good", so the "nice word" meaning is pretty much built in: if you are willing to look past that, you might as well use the word "haddock", which is funnier.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:09 AM on September 17, 2009


my library is in my pants

Now THAT'S an unusual euphemism.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:18 AM on September 17, 2009


Yeah, but Saturday nights alright for fighting.
posted by quin at 8:00 AM on September 17, 2009


I was going to say beware of Saturday the 14th.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:32 AM on September 17, 2009


I have to go to the euphemism.
posted by lysdexic at 10:13 AM on September 17, 2009


Is this where I'm supposed to flame out or something?
posted by turaho at 1:57 PM on September 17, 2009


Yes. Apply to pb for a chainsaw (cortex normally supplies them, but he's on tour) and follow the posted rules. Please do a better job than others have lately; the quality of flameouts here has been a serious consideration and has lowered MetaFilter's stock price noticeably.
posted by languagehat at 2:16 PM on September 17, 2009


I regret that I have but two hands to give for my Metafilter.
posted by turaho at 3:28 PM on September 17, 2009


I'm an outlier on the subject

Isn't that sort of euphemistic for "I'm wrong"?
posted by Neiltupper at 3:31 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I prefer "awesomeistic".
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:24 PM on September 17, 2009


That's euphemistic for "yes".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:32 PM on September 17, 2009


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