Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fien Print Neologism: Ducking the Shoe

[This post, like the past few, will be following me over to my new online home at Keep an eye out, kids, because HitFix is launching on Friday. Or at least we're hoping it will be! To whet your appetite, go check out Drew McWeeny talking HitFix on G4's "Attack of the Show." ]

Because the English language is a living breathing creature, it's necessary to come up with new words and parts of speech...

New Phrase: Ducking the Shoe (or Duck the Shoe)

Part of Speech: Either a verb or a gerundive of some sort

Definition: Escaping even the most minor of punishments for extended errors or catastrophic misdeeds.

Used in a Sentence: Despite dwindling ratings at NBC, Jeff Zucker and Ben Silverman have been ducking the shoe for years.

Origin and Linguistic Evolution: Last week, a certain president of a Western Superpower with rather dramatically low approval ratings in his native land had a shoe whipped at him by a reporter from a country he supposedly liberated. Said lame duck president successfully evaded said shoe, just as he also evaded an electoral challenge four years earlier, an ill-ingested preztel and any sort of censure from the legal bodies in his home nation. This blog isn't a place to get political, so I won't. Y'all know about the shoe.

In any case, as jokes about the incident were spreading the Internet like pregnancies in an Eastern Massachusetts high school, Alan Sepinwall and I determined that "Ducking the Shoe" needed to become a catch phrase. The venerable "Jumping the Shark" became so meaninglessly mainstreamed that nobody using it knows what they're referring to anymore, while its media-annointed replacement, "Nuking the Fridge," fell flat when people realized that using the expression would force us all to remember sitting through "Indiana Jones and the Quest for Profit."

Hence... "Ducking the Shoe," the perfect phrase for a moment in history where avoiding accountability isn't just a way of life, it's an art form which, if handled properly, can cause the government to provide you with billions of dollars in compensation for your ineptitude. Ducking the Shoe isn't an insult, so much as a reflection on the renewable resilience of the American Spirit. At our finest, we're a nation of shoe duckers. What, you'd rather be hit by the shoe? Go back to CANADA.

I spent several days running "Ducking the Shoe" into the ground on Twitter, attempting to work the phrase into the vernacular.


The "Heroes" fall finale stunk, but don't expect any heads to role, as it was written by the already scapegoated Jeph Loeb. Tim Kring, meanwhile, continues to duck the shoe.

Sacramento Kings coach Reggie Theus was unable to duck the shoe and was fired for his team's slow start. Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson, though, is ducking the shoe due to the mistaken impression that when Montae Ellis returns from injury, the team will cease to stink.

For an example of the myriad possible uses of the phrase, check out Medialoper's 2008 Ducking the Shoe Awards.

Medialoper's very thorough list inspired me to codify Ducking the Shoe in blog-post form. Take the phrase. Work it around in your mouth a little bit and hear how it sounds. Lace it up and walk around the store for a while to see if it fits. Sprinkle it on your food to taste -- It's fat-free!

It's not too late for 2008 to go down at The Year of Ducking the Shoe.


  1. I can't help hear "ducking the shoe" as a polite cover for the phrase, "shucking the due," whose usage is roundly acknowledged as unacceptable in mixed company.

  2. Hope the new site gets tons of traffic tomorrow!!

  3. Amen! And thanks for the shout-out!

    Future linguistics historians will no doubt go to this post as the ur-text for how "ducking the shoe" became as overused and hated as "jumping the shark" currently is!

    Though the more churlish of those linguistics historians might point out that the Medialoper link is broken . . .

  4. Medialoper link is, I believe, fixed...

    And are you implying I made ducking the shoe jump the shark? SIGH!


  5. Cool.

    Actually, I don't think that ducking the shoe jumps the shark until the moment where somebody points out that ducking the shoe has become so overused and annoying that the phrase itself has ducked the shoe.

  6. Anonymous6:36 AM

    Nice shoes. Goog luck!