November 30, 2007

The declining expectations of government work

During the Packers-Cowboys game last night, announcer Bryant Gumbel watched Green Bay get close to a first down and predicted that the team had come up short. He described the head referee's decision that the Packers had indeed gotten the first down thus: "John Perry says that's close enough for government work."

Since Gumbel hadn't thought the Packers deserved that first down, presumably he used that expression as a slight on government work.

Yet when the phrase originated during World War II, something that was "good enough for government work" meant it could pass the most rigorous of standards.

Somewhere in between Rosie The Riveter and Bryant Gumbel, the phrase came to mean the opposite.

2 comments:

Josh said...

"Bryant Gumbel is not a solution to our problem, Bryant Gumbel is the problem." -- Ronald Reagan

SKBK said...

I think it's time to swing the pendulum back.