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Like the dog you are!

Why do tv tough guys so often say, "I'm going to hunt you down and kill you like a dog"? This always makes me wonder, "Does this guy kill a lot of dogs? And does he kill them in some particularly notable way, which is the way he's going to kill this particular enemy as well?" which then leads me to, "Or does this guy mean, 'kill you like a dog would kill you'? So is he saying he's going to kill the guy with his teeth and claws? Maybe with some growling and barking?"

I hate sayings that make no sense.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
drkprncss17
Aug. 31st, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
dammit, Kimberly, now you're giving me things to think about again! Maybe the phrase came into use when people didn't have vets willing to put down their animals, and they'd have to shoot their dogs to ease suffering? Or kill rabid dogs, like Old Yeller? Either way, that phrase is SO messed up. It's like...why do people always say "greatest thing since sliced bread?" like, was there nothing better than that before? What about fire? Fire was a pretty great discovery. And really, how hard is it for people to slice their own bread? Oh, and what about those pre-packaged sliced sandwich meats? And toaster pastries? Those are pretty awesome. Oooh! And cookie dough, that I think in theory we're expected to actually roll out into cookies, but in fact it's just an oh so convenient thing for when you're craving raw cookie dough but don't wanna go to the hassle of mixing some up?
xiphias
Aug. 31st, 2011 11:01 am (UTC)
The invention of the automatic-bread-slicer is an interesting story. And, yeah, "the best thing since sliced bread" doesn't mean "the best thing EVARR!!", it merely means "the best thing since 1928 or so."

The invention of the automatic bread slicer wasn't the real challenge: the challenge was the invention of an automatic wrapper that could make an airtight package, so the sliced bread didn't go stale. It's pretty cool, actually. The toaster was invented at about the same time, and the two products had a synergistic effect on each other's success.

What makes sliced bread so great? It means that we all don't need to deal with a bread knife every morning before coffee. Sure, you can slice your own bread, but it's a pain. And it requires a really significant, sharp knife to do. Imagine being a parent making lunches for a family of four in the morning. And maybe making toast at the same time. So you need four pieces of toast, and four sandwiches, so that's twelve slices of bread, and you've just woken up, and . . . well, yeah, you CAN slice twelve pieces of bread, but isn't it just nicer to not HAVE to?

It's pretty great. Not as great as the discovery of fire, sure. Not by a long shot. But it's a good example of a sort of low-level great thing. Not a SUPER-great thing, but definitely in the category of "great".
daev
Aug. 31st, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
"Sure, you can slice your own bread, but it's a pain."

Merde!
kimberly_a
Aug. 31st, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Ouch! I'm a big fan of puns, but that one is just painful.
xiphias
Aug. 31st, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
Oh. . . NOW I get it. Sorry, I'm slow sometimes . . .
kimberly_a
Aug. 31st, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
I used to bake bread frequently, which meant I had to slice it myself, and I sometimes also buy bakery bread, which needs the same treatment. Mostly, I'm the only one eating this bread, so I don't have the "slicing 80 slices while getting kids ready for school" problem, but I *do* have the "making the slices the same width" problem. When I'm making a sandwich, I don't want one thick slice and one thin slice, and apparently I'm bread-slicing-evenness impaired.

HOWEVER ... bread that is freshly sliced has a nicer surface texture, in my experience, and seems to stay fresher. (After all, once you open that "airtight package" of pre-sliced bread, the package is never airtight again -- unless you're obsessive enough to store it in tupperware or something.)
xiphias
Aug. 31st, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, absolutely. Fresh bread is better than packaged bread, whether it's fresh from the bakery or fresh from your own oven. And when you slice your own bread, you've only got that one edge open to the air, sure.
kimberly_a
Aug. 31st, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think computers are considerably more impressive than sliced bread. I'm quite fond of modern dentistry, as well. Less ouchy = neato keen! The O.E.D.? M.R.I.s? Penicillin? Black people getting the right to vote?
palmir
Aug. 31st, 2011 12:23 pm (UTC)
My wholly uneducated guess: it may have originated with "... like a rabid dog." Or possibly (more likely?) it was informed by some other insult that involved calling someone a dog (see also: "[mangy] cur"? For that matter, we still have "bitch" - both terms compare the target to a dog with at least the connotation that they're less than human).

This is the Internet and this is still more fun than trying to google it and find out the real answer.
kimberly_a
Aug. 31st, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I always figured that it probably came from something about the ethical/moral/emotional difference between killing a person vs. killing an animal. Basically dehumanizing the enemy. Like "I will kill you in the street and just walk away whistling, because it will mean nothing to me."
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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