Monday, November 03, 2008

It's time for a new cliché

Today, while responding to a comment, I found myself typing the words:

'... it's not rocket science.'

And I thought to myself, "That's a rubbish analogy in 2008. Rocket science is hardly the bleeding edge of technology any more is it? I mean, the Chinese invented gunpowder thousands of years ago and there are people building rockets in their back gardens."

All of which means that we're overdue a modern, more accurate equivalent. Brain surgery? I guess that's still one of the hardest things to do. But what are your thoughts?

I'll kick you off with my suggestion:

'... it's not like we're searching for Higgs Bosons.'


Persephone said...

Well, you could borrow the Quebecois expression: "Ça ne prend pas la tête à Papineau" which refers to Louis-Joseph Papineau. We're more likely to say "It doesn't take a genius" in anglophone Canada.

How about "It's not quantum mechanics?" That's something I, for one, certainly have difficulty getting my head around.

Chris Hale said...

I suppose one could say, 'It's not particle physics, is it?', but even that sounds a little archaic, albeit I'm not sure why.

Your suggestion would be an excellent one for an updated Fawlty Towers script, where hapless Spanish waiter Andrew Sachs searches in vain for a pen and paper to jot down Jonathan Ross's phone number for future reference.

Higgs Boson. Higgs? Doesn't sound much like a scientist, does he? More like a milkman's name, is Higgs. Now Munchausen-Umlaut, there's a proper scientist's name!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Quantum Mechanics. Particle Physics. Good suggestions.

When 'rocket science' was coined, it was the sexiest, newest and most advanced form of science (I guess). What's the 2008 equivalent?

Arthur C Clarke once said something along the lines of 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' so what's looking a bit like magic at the moment? What is so blummin' extraordinary that it makes you go 'Wow!'?

Higgs. I see what you mean. Hawking isn't exactly sexy either is it? Stephen Zigmann-Froolgimp sounds much better.

The Factory said...

I always fancied writing something set at NASA, just so I could use the line 'Actually this IS rocket science'.

Diane said...

Hell, for me, it would be 4th grade math. When my 9-year-old comes to me for help, I hyperventilate ;)

Stevyn Colgan said...

Stu - Perfect.

Diane - Me too. Not quite sure how '4th Grade' equates to our system in the UK (let alone the systems we had back in the 1970s) but I was rubbish at maths. I still couldn't tell you what a logarithm, cosine or tangent is. Nor, indeed, the point of any of them. I've survived 47 years without them. Now breathe, Diane, breathe.

Jon M said...

I had a student whose dad WAS a rocket scientist...and I could never, ever, ever resist using the phrase!

My sister always says, "What's new?" To which I reply, "Gene Therapy, that's quite new."

Debby said...

It's not deconstructing DNA.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Jon - Nice one. Curiously enough I used to answer the same query with 'fibre-optic cable'.

Debby - Excellent. In the same vein I guess that 'It's not genetic engineering' would be a viable newbie.

doctawho42 said...

Its not like we're trying to kill a cockroach. There 'yar.

Oh, and good point. New cliches ahoy.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Who42 - Nice. Isn't there some old urban myth about cockroaches inheriting the Earth? I seem to recall that, when the theory was tested, they ain't all that.

Anonymous said...

It's not the Saturday NYTimes crossword puzzle.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Karma - Welcome to the blog. Is the NY Times crossword that hard then? The equivalent over here was always The Times crossword although, personally, I find the Daily Telegraph more of a challenge (can't stand the paper though!)


'It's not potatoes is it!'. That seems to be the term kids use in Cornwall at the moment.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Simon - Nice one Bro. We Cornish do like bizarre similes and metaphors don't we? I remember from my youth such expressions as 'Mad as a bucket' and 'As tall as the curtains'.

Or was it just our family?