Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cracked vs. broken eggs

I noted in a brief post what seemed to me a meltdown in Bush's interview on the News Hour earlier this week. One of the things that really disturbed me was his response to Lehrer's question about whether Iraq had become a 'broken egg'. Bush answered:
I don’t quite view it as the broken egg; I view it as the cracked egg ...
Now, I don't do metaphor, but this chunk keeps getting played on NPR, quoted in papers, etc. and none of the folks I've heard or read in the mainstream media seems to be saying what lots of political bloggers have said: This doesn't make sense. I guess the best case would be an egg with a cracked shell but the membrane still intact, so it's not leaking. Been a while since I've been around laying hens, but isn't a cracked egg a goner from the relevant bird's eye perspective? Even for cooking, the Food and Drug Administration urges us to not buy eggs with cracked shells for safety reasons, see here. Eggs aside, Merriam-Webster's entry for cracked is this:
1 a : broken (as by a sharp blow) so that the surface is fissured *cracked china* b : broken into coarse particles *cracked wheat* c : marked by harshness, dissonance, or failure to sustain a tone *a cracked voice*
2 : mentally disturbed : CRAZY
Kinda seems like we're seeing the full range of meanings in play in Iraq and that interview. Or maybe people will start to wonder if Bush is on the pipe?

But please, media people, stop quoting this bizarre phrase unless you're going to offer some insight into what it means.


Joe said...

So, I guess my role on this blog is to post comments all the time. Anyhow ...

Just do a google image search for 'cracked egg'. The big majority of pictures aren't of hairline fractures on the shells, but of eggs broken into pieces -- like the M-W definition would suggest.

The Ridger, FCD said...

I think the difference is that a broken egg is all over the floor or counter top - that is, is an accident - while a cracked egg is now in a mixing bowl ready to be used to make something or a skillet - that is, is deliberate.

I think Bush meant that Iraq's not "broken" but "in transition", ready to be served up as a delicious and nutritious part of a new world, order.