Old Pictures, Naked Pictures
Posted by Neal on July 25, 2013
As those of you who follow me on Twitter may have gathered, I have a gig for the next week and a half as one of the PA announcers at the Ohio State Fair. In all my years in Ohio, I have never been to the State Fair until yesterday, and after one day, I’ve already learned some things about agriculture here. The electrical room is on the second floor of a building named the Brown Arena, but informally called the sheep arena. Walking past all those sheep on the way to the staircase to the electrical room, I was reminded of the last line of “Little Bo Peep”: “Leave them alone, and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them.” Tails? What tails? There wasn’t a tail in sight. Someone confirmed that sheeps’ tails are routinely docked, although I don’t know if it’s for easier cleaning, easier mating, or some other purpose. Maybe I can ask when I’m there today.
Anyway, as I was driving to work yesterday morning, I listened to the news, which included the latest about Anthony Weiner’s habit of sending “naked pictures” of himself to young women. As always, I made the mental translation:
naked picture of X = picture of naked X
Later, as I played the pre-recorded commercials and announcements for the day, I listened to one advertising last night’s featured performer, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. (My wife met me after I got off work, and we saw the show. It was funny!) The spot included a few clips from his shows, including one with his cranky old man character named Walter, whose schtick includes always complaining about his wife’s sexual unattractiveness. “But I saw an old picture of your wife,” Dunham says (in his own voice). Walter responds, “An old picture!”
Whoa! “Naked picture of X” means X is naked, but “old pictures of X” does not mean X is old! Just the opposite, in fact. Old and young do not work as transferred epithets with pictures. Got any other adjectives that almost always or almost never work as a transferred epithet with certain nouns? Let’s have them!