Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day. Again.

Spoiling sport as only a copy editor would, I am compelled to suggest that the idea of repeatedly reliving the same events is not inherent in Groundhog Day, but rather traceable directly to the Bill Murray movie of that name. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

This fact may or may not spoil whatever cute allusions a writer might come up with, but copy editors should at least keep it in mind, lest "Groundhog Day" become as widely misused as "deja vu."

9 comments:

MuPu said...

The idea of repeatedly reliving the same events is not inherent in Groundhog Day. No argument there.

However, the idea of repeatedly reliving the same events is inherent in "Groundhog Day." Note the quotes.

I don't believe it's a misuse to refer to "Groundhog Day" when alluding to some spookily recurring event. The term is widely understood, even by those who have never seen the movie. By using or not using quotation marks, it's easy to indicate in print whether we mean the movie or the day.

If you need to clarify your spoken or written remarks, use "the movie 'Groundhog Day'" or "'Groundhog Day,' the movie."

Looking ahead: A term like this has good potential for persistence. I suspect you'll even see it outlive the need for quotation marks, like the military's Star Wars (or star wars) did.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

Bill said...

I agree, which is why I said it may or may not affect the message. But it is a weaker link; there are plenty of people who know what Groundhog Day is but have never seen the movie or heard about its plot.

MuPu said...

Yesterday, Feb. 4 (GD+2), "I Got You Babe" came on the radio at work. (You can talk to Cher about the grammar and punctuation.)

I said to a coworker, "It's still Groundhog Day?"

First, a blank look. Then, "What?"

I guess you're right about the "weaker link."

Bill said...

I'm no longer speaking to Cher.

Armchair General said...

What is the misuse of deja vu that so often appears?

Bill said...

Deja vu is the eerie sense that you've experienced something before when in fact you haven't.

It was funny the first couple of times (I believe Robin Williams was a pioneer) people used it to refer to a regular old recurrence ("McEnroe's arguing with an umpire! Deja vu!"), but no more.

Nuclear Redaction said...

Robin Williams also introduced us to the concept of vu jadé: the strange sense that none of this has happened before.

MuPu said...

They might say "vu jàdé" on Ork, but Cher was heard to utter "jamais vu" at Bill's last birthday party.

Blork said...

Bill, I've felt like I've been living a Bill Murrayesque "Groundhog Day" for the past few weeks when I come to your blog because I keep seeing the same post over and over. Sir, you are falling behind!