Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ms. Palin, Meet Mr. Drysdale. And Jethro.


I covered this two years ago, but I can't resist repeating it as I hear Sarah Palin and her fans mention, over and over again, how she has fought "the good-old-boy network."

The "old-boy network" and "good ol' boys" are practically opposites. As highly respected usage commentators usually do, I'll draw an example from "The Beverly Hillbillies." In the above photos, the old boy is on the far left. The good ol' boy is on the far right.

Then again, maybe in Alaska they're the same thing.

(Yes, that time stamp is accurate. If you have a comment, please make it quietly.)

9 comments:

Kristen said...

Jethro was a good ol' boy, it's true. But Jesse Helms was part of the "good ol' boy network." I think the phrase is an apt hybrid.

Of course, it really only applies to Southern politicking, so in a national context, it is probably misplaced.

Bill said...

Sure, it could be a clever turn of phrase if used knowingly -- sort of like saying "butt naked" instead of "buck naked." But it's almost always an example of somebody completely misunderstanding the term. (While an old-boy network could be made up of good ol' boys in certain regions, there are good ol' boys and there are good ol' boys. In other words, even if the power structure is made up entirely of hicks, not all hicks get to be part of the power structure.)

Mucka Mucka Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

Yes, the widespread confusion of two opposite terms was implanted in Americans' brains by aliens who don't like Republicans, and I fell for it. (The anti-Democratic aliens got me several weeks ago with Obama and "enormity," and so I am also operating under the dictates of the Fairness Doctrine.)

MelissaD said...

In Alaska, there's a saying that comments on the ratio of men to women: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd."
So is it the odd-good-ol'-boy network?

Mucka Mucka Man said...

You’ve posted one item on Obama’s “enormity,” yet a handful on Palin’s “good ol' boy network,” along with name-calling such as “Typhoid Mary” and references to the Beverly Hillbillies. Fair enough for journalists and their editors, I reckon. Keep up the honest work.

James Geluso said...

Not so, Kristen. The good ol' boy network is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest, where it runs the semirural and rural counties. Members will point out that the land they own (and they always own land and lots of it) has been in their family for generations (how many probably depends on when white settlement reached the area). In my neck of the woods, it was farmers and timber owners, mainly. When the good old boys ran into conflict with newcomers, the county commissioners would ignore laws if they could, and change laws when necessary, to benefit their fellows. Thus, the network of good old boys. They aren't drinking bourbon in their parlors; they're out fishing behind the dam and drinking beer.

E said...

This reminds me of the talk of "drive-by deliveries" years ago (new mothers being rushed out of the hospital, not gangs of obstetricians cruising past street corners). I would have said "drive-through deliveries."

Jim Donahue said...

The NY times used "good old boy politics" on the front page yesterday.

Sigh.