Sunday 2 August 2020

i might just fade into bolivian

Though a slip-of-the-tongue is usually a charitable excuse for all of the pettiness, name-calling and generally uncollegiality in the US congress, I’ll accept that a fellow party member referring to Representative Louie Gohmert (shill of a law-maker turned disease-vector) as “Congressman COVID” is an honest malapropism—both being generally reprehensible and irresponsible with their shared framing of the pandemic as a hoax. Such epithets are telling whatever the mechanism for substitution and this particular variety where the intended word or name is crowded out by something phonologically similar and more handily available comes from the character Missus Malaprop in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 comedy of manners The Rivals, named in turn for the French phrase mal ร  propos, coined first as an error in speech (see also) by Lord Byron in 1814.