Monday, March 14, 2016

Something in the way they something something

Reading around the net, through many threads of comment on you know what and you know whoms, I came across an expression, joke, trope...not really sure what to call goes "something something"....something something(or something).

I first noticed it in a thread of comments at the website of Charles Pierce of Esquire, at the weekend (link in sidebar). A commenter there began his response with: "something something wind...something something whirlwind". There followed a flurry of comments with some loose wit, concerning peas and penguins and peeing into the wind - but that's beside the point. I "got" the idea of "something something" as it was being used there. That commenter knew very well what were the missing words, it was a satirical use of "something something".

I then noticed "something something" used again elsewhere, in a different context. Smelling a potential idea for a post I was off, scurrying deep into Google's back rooms to discover if this is one of those newfangled "viral" somethings, picked up from who knows where to become the cool person's style du jour.

It took several pages of Googling to reach the information I sought. I had to travel via TV tropes:
Something Something Leonard Bernstein, and in that vicinity also picked up another fascinating tid-bit, used in drama and writing known as "lampshading"

Lampshade Hanging (or, more informally, "Lampshading") is the writers' trick of dealing with any element of the story that threatens the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief, whether a very implausible plot development, or a particularly blatant use of a trope, by calling attention to it and simply moving on. The reason for this counter-intuitive strategy is two-fold. First, it assures the audience that the author is aware of the implausible plot development that just happened, and that they aren't trying to slip something past the audience.

Back to something something...then came headlines by writers obviously in on this "something" thing:

Something Something "Privilege"

Rand Paul says something something Bill Clinton therefore Hillary bad.

Several similar uses, here and there then, from 2010 - something useful:

Something Something Roots

Apparently the expression/joke/idiom whatever is not new, but likely surfaces anew now and again as years go by. Comments at the linked site describe earlier examples of "something something" (or similar). My favourite is one I recall seeing via DVD - and the simplest version of "something something". The way it's used now is with more snark, cynicism, an exhibition of supposed coolness.
On an episode of The Bob Newhart Show (the one where he was a psychologist in Chicago), there was a very funny episode where he and his old college pal The Peeper (Tom Poston) went back to their old burger-and-beer joint before attending a Loyola basketball game. Nothing was quite the same as they remembered it - the beer wasn't ice cold and was a bit flat, the bar now sold frozen sandwiches instead of two-inch-thick burgers. At one point Peep said to Bob "We should sing our old school song - how'd it go.....'Something something rah-rah-rah!'" Bob shook his head and said "No, that was the school fight song. The school song was 'something something alma mater.'" "Boy, they don't write 'em like that anymore," Peep commented. Later he lifted his mug and said to Bob "Let's sing our old drinking song. How'd it go again?" Bob thought for a moment and said "I think it was 'something something down the hatch'."

Dunno if this was the first use of that joke, but it's the first time I heard it, and this was back in the late 1970s.
Posted by Oriole Adams at 10:24 AM on April 8, 2010

All of that something something coolness brings me to Music Monday's offering -
Something's Coming - and this one is for Bernie and Bernie supporters:


mike said...

"Something something" is similar to:
That that, that that that is, is that that.

mike (again) said...

Reminded me of Frost's poem:

For Once, Then, Something
By Robert Frost

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

Twilight said...

mike ~ You mean "That that is, is. That that is not, is not....."etc? It's of that ilk but not closely related. I think the "That...." thing is more to do with commas or lack of 'em really - as in "Eats Shoots and Leaves"....Oxford Commas an' all that.

Nice poem - hadn't met that one before. :-)

mike (again) said...

"'Something, Something, Something, Dark Side' is a direct-to-video special of the animated series Family Guy which later served as the 20th episode of the show's eighth season and is part of the series' Star Wars parody trilogy Laugh It Up, Fuzzball."

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ LOL! Thanks. And there we even get an extra something! :-)