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August 14 , 2010

Slam Dunks and No-Brainers

Language in Your Life, the Media, Business, Politics, and, Like, Whatever


In this marvelously original book, three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Leslie Savan offers fascinating insights into why we’re all talking the talk—Duh; Bring it on!; Bling; Whatever!—and what this reveals about America today. Savan traces the paths that phrases like these travel from obscure slang to pop stardom, selling everything from cars (ads for VWs, Mitsubishis, and Mercurys all pitch them as “no-brainer”s) to wars (finding WMD in Iraq was to be a “slam dunk”). Real people create these catchy phrases, but once media, politics, and businesses broadcast them, they burst out of our mouths as celebrity words, newly glamorous and powerful. Witty, fun, and full of thought-provoking stories about the origins of popular expressions, Slam Dunks and No-Brainers is for everyone who loves the mysteries of language.
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Once there was a great noise in our house, — a thumping and battering and grating. It was my own self dragging my big trunk down from the garret. I did it myself because I wanted it done. If I had said, “Halicarnassus, will you fetch my trunk down? ” he would have asked me what trunk? and what did I want of it? and would not the other one be…

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