Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Still dead

Chevy Chase's old SNL routine about the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco being "still dead" created a little meme that's still floating around our culture. The phrase gets ca. 5.2 million g-hits, so it's hardly obscure. But it seems like it's bubbling up big now, and you wonder what triggers that … just weird fluctuations or did something trip this off? Frank Rich's column last Sunday in the NYT was aptly called "Ronald Reagan is still dead", and I've heard that repeated a couple of times since.

But now it's made it into linguistics … a colleague emailed me his "new favorite" article called "News flash: Hume still dead" by Lynn Eubank and Kevin Gregg, published in Studies in Second Language Acquisition (see here). Of course, since Hume famously declared that his Treatise of Human Nature "fell dead-born from the press", it's an even better joke. He later quipped that he "soon recovered from the blow", unlike Franco.

PS: As much as I love graphics, I couldn't bring myself to put up a pic of Franco. The image of Hume is from — hey, where else? — empiricism.com.

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