Friday, July 18, 2008

Where's the Verb? FIll in post on Southernisms

Stop emailing me, folks, I got no clue where Mr. V is — has he ever gone a week without a post?

In the meantime, did you catch this line from Nancy Pelosi?
You know, God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject.
She's been declared an honorary southerner here. As it happens, I was just talking to a fellow North Carolina ex-pat about this very phrase last night. He was commenting on the fact that in the third person (as opposed to second person 'bless your heart' or 'bless ya'll's hearts'), this is a brutal turn of phrase. It's good old downhome talk, but has made the transition to Urban Dictionary, here. (Google the phrase and you'll see plenty.)

Now, let's see if we can find Mr. Verb.


Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, OK, I've been laying low for sure.

What a quote from Pelosi. How hard could she possibly hit him: She's showing public pity for this wretched loser who's wrecked everything he's touched. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm not getting this. Mr. V is like lurking on his own blog. Well, commenting isn't like lurking, but it's odd somehow.

Fritinancy said...

I'm not from the South, and I get a little squirmy about the whole blessing topic, but I do cherish a memory of Molly Ivins (much, much missed) in conversation on the stage of San Francisco's Herbst Theater. At one point she confessed: "When I turned 50 I became an involuntary heart-blesser." Her example (this goes back a few years): "Barbara Bush..." [pregnant pause] "... bless her heart."

Joe said...

Thanks, Yeah, I'm never quite sure how bleached out the 'blessing' part is -- for some speakers like probably Molly Ivins I'm pretty sure it carries no (conscious) religious angle anymore. And any Molly Ivins story is a welcome story.

Monica said...

As a life-long Yankee can I just ask for a little clarification? Is "bless X's heart" kind of like when I was a kid and you could say anything you wanted after the magic formula "No offense, but..." - ?? Does "bless his heart" excuse the following insult?

TootsNYC said...

Monica--yes, it does.

But if you click on the link, you'll see it has other useful functions as well--it's a great thing to train yourself to say to those nasty people who like to "zing" other people, the ones who normally leave you speechless and wishing later that you'd had a really good comeback.

In the "generic zingy comback" usage, it needs to be delivered with a VERY patronizing or condescending tone of voice.

(It can occasionally be used benevolently, as you'll see, but that's less common)