October 08, 2008

green behind the ears

Now, Sen. McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I'm green behind the ears and, you know, I'm just spouting off, and he's somber and responsible.
A slip of the tongue by Barack Obama in yesterday's debate. You're either "green" or "wet behind the ears", but here the two metaphors are mixed. My friends, slips of the tongue are important linguistic data, they tell us about how speech is planned and how words are stored in the mind. In this case, the two expressions that are mixed are semantically similar, they both mean "inexperienced". (Urbandictionary.com, however, lists "green behind the ears" as a set expression.)

(If you do a Google image search on "green ears", or if you are a vintage Barbie collector, you will come across an completely unrelated green ear phenomenon, illustrated in the picture below: "a condition caused by the original metal earrings being left in the doll's ears for too long.")

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