A Line in the Sand

Dammit. I’m adding a little note here to deal with something that I have had just about enough of…

I’m doing it.

I’m doing it…

I’M DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND!!

Oh wait…

I am tired of hearing/seeing the expression “drawing a line in the sand.” I hate, hate, hate this expression. It comes form a corny speech by G.H.W. Bush and it’s just deplorable. The expression is a cute adaptation of the fine old southern saying, “to draw a line in the DUST.” You can add a “y’all” in there if you feel it.

This expression means something like “draw the line”– another healthy, old-fashioned saying from people who knew what-was-what. It also resembles “scratch a line in the dirt,” but the “dirt” reference means something more childish and less adult. Kids “scratch a line in the dirt” to pick a fight (“I dare ya ta cross it! Step over that line, ya chicken!”)

Adults “draw a line in the dust” but it’s still a bit juvenile. To “draw the line” is to set a boundary, as we say today in therapy, etc. We “draw the line” at whatever-the-hell it was that Meatloaf wouldn’t do (I think it was say “I don’t love you”).

All kinds of cool variations on this saying once existed. The grand-daddy was “draw a line in the dust” but you could have Willy Wonka draw a line in the sugar, you could have have Liz Taylor draw a line in the jewels, or, even have some middle-eastern dictator draw a line “in the sand.”

Cute, huh?

But once his majesty George had his speech-writer say “draw a line in the sand” then every news reporter on the planet suddenly forgot their lunch and thought that THIS cutesy expression was the original. They all parrot it incessantly, and it makes them sound like boot-licking toadies, and it’s hard to sound like a hard-nosed, objective journalist while your fondness for Presidential Speak had you crawling on your belly and wagging your tail.

This is the way the world ends. The old-but-solid expression “draw a line in the dust” is forgotten in one hammer-blow, as modernity sticks its head in the fridge and chomps the pizza.

5 Replies to “A Line in the Sand”

  1. I hope we’re done drawing LINES in the SAND in the fucked up Iran-Iraq, Afghanistan, Syrian, Libyan fucking sands of war. Nice sandboxes for our Military industrial guys to play in with their WMD toys. Shit I saw the Documentary about Marines vs Taliban. After days of feckless firefights with bad guys in a compound, they broke out a Javelin man carried missile, looked through the computing sights, and “Pop! Whoosh! that Lil whizzer $20,000 killer arced up in the air and came down just behind the wall to scramble snuff the supposed Taliban commanders, WOWZERS. They coulda done that days earlier, saved a lot of sweat and small arms ammo, but then the Marine game woulda been over. Gotta get me some of them Javelins. Shit the next real war is gonna be so suddenly lethal with conventional weapons neither side is gonna have the heart go Nookler.

    1. I’m angry about the wars and the lies, but I can’t escape the conclusion that these wars were fought on behalf of the Saudis. They threatened us/intimidated us with a “terror” attack on the World Trade Center/Pentagon, and (probably) a threat to end the petrodollar (would destroy the value of the dollar). It’s a complex problem. We set up a dictatorship next door in Iraq, then had our Iraqi attack dog hit Kuwait to intimidate the Saudis. They then hit back with 9/11 and petrodollar threats (threats to buy/sell oil in other currencies) and so we folded and went to war to eliminate our Iraqi goon squad and shut down the anti-Saudi Al-Qaeda.

      But there are still two Saudi “enemies” that we won’t fight. One is Iran. Too dangerous, despite the Saudis seriously wanting to take them down. The other is Israel. To deal with this, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have sat down and talked about stuff and decided to be more like friends. This leaves the door open for a joint Israeli/Saudi/U.S. attack on Iran to…

      Hell I have no idea what they’re mad about, but if a certain angel blows a certain horn and breaks a certain seal, then I’m glad I have a nice TV to watch the apocalypse.

  2. Yes. Well no one wants a Nookler Iran. But there’s gotta be a better way. The Iranian people are very very smart.

    By the way the USMC is divesting all of their Tanks. They say Tanks are no longer suitable for their Mission. Mebbe. But the whole Tank vs. Antitank thing has gotten so Insanely technologically
    expensive it boggles minds. Personally I don’t think Tanks have a snowballs chance in the next peer to peer conflict. Everyone has equally lethal anti-tank hardware, and equally vulnerable Tanks.

    1. Let’s say I’m a science fiction fan from about 1970. I look at a book where all this stuff is going on and there is no explanation for any of it. Mysterious “terrorist” groups appear and disappear, “invasions” take — first there is a war zone then there is no war zone then there is… (apologies to Donovan).

      What is my analysis? Not as a typical twenty-first century dim-bulb, but as a razor-sharp science fiction fan from the distant time of 1970? Do I say that “they” are bad and we have to fight “them” because of reasons?

      Do I?

      Hell no I don’t. I say that something is EXTREMELY fishy about all this. Now– keep in mind that I haven’t even told our hypothetical sci-fi guy about 9/11 or Covid or nothin’. No– my young friend, player of SPI games and thinker of thoughts, is going to figure that the some kind of evil force has taken over the country and is doing all kinds of mysterious things we KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. It’s all some kind of weird conspiracy to do something– but what? Drug money? It just doesn’t make sense. World government? Maybe… maybe a little warmer. Space Aliens about to enslave us all? Warmer. Robots from our own planet have already enslaved the elite and are working on the rest of us? Yeah, that’s sounding real warm.

      It’s either robots or the elite have just gone plain NUTS.

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