The Globe's Joan Vennochi had some good observations on Sunday about the insane political strategizing going on in Massachusetts this season, but her lead had a phrase that might be ready for the graveyard:
With apologies to Shakespeare: first, kill the political consultants.
Now, sometimes a writer is so miffed at a particular social group that a literary allusion to mass murder seems like the only way to get his or her point across. But overuse has drained this phrase of pretty much all its power. Here are some other examples that a quick Googling turned up, along with excerpts that each try to justify one more use of the cliche:
"First, Kill All the School Boards," Matt Miller, The Atlantic, January 2008:
Many reformers across the political spectrum agree that local control has become a disaster for our schools. But the case against it is almost never articulated. Public officials are loath to take on powerful school-board associations and teachers’ unions; foundations and advocacy groups, who must work with the boards and unions, also pull their punches. For these reasons, as well as our natural preference for having things done nearby, support for local control still lingers, largely unexamined, among the public.
It wouldn't be as strange or difficult as it sounds. Put the two candidates on stage, and let them talk to each other. The candidates would pose questions and keep each other on topic and on time. If one candidate were rude and hogged the time or went off topic, the other could call him or her on it. It's a good bet that candidates would be on their best behavior.
"First, Kill All The Sportswriters," Matt Taibbi, Men's Journal, Oct. 8, 2008:
Why? That should be obvious to anyone who follows sports. My epiphany came this past July when I went to Las Vegas to cover the NBA Summer League. I’m under the basket in Cox Pavilion, big shiny credential around my neck, watching a Mavs-Pistons game and trying to figure out which player to bug with my idiotic questions once time runs out. The phalanx of mostly overweight sportswriters sitting around me are glancing nervously in the direction of the player benches, thinking the same thing.
"First, Kill All the MBAs," Bradford Plumer, The New Republic via the Utne Reader, July 2009:
Business schools aren’t, of course, primarily responsible for the implosion of global finance. But, across the country, business-school faculties are grappling with the possibility that they’ve been instilling generations of students with a naive faith in free markets, teaching them to focus solely on short-term profits, and justifying some of the more outrageous executive-compensation schemes that have become Exhibit A in the case against corporate America.
"First, Kill All the Experts," Al Davies, MD, The 'Lectric Law Library, no date available:
Somehow, an expert [witness] is expected to both perform in the narrow constraints of a system made, and entirely controlled by others, yet hated for doing so. I know with deep conviction that doctors far prefer to be seen as champions of truth, honor, and humanitarianism, especially in the legal arena. Physicians are typically dismayed to find the majority of time spent in testimony revolved more around casting aspersions upon the honor of witnesses instead of on issues of medical substance? [sic] Who does that help? How does that help the jury find real truth?
"First, kill all the managers," Greg Linden, Geeking with Greg, May 30, 2006:
If you have seen the harm middle managers can create, it is hard not to be sympathetic with this view. I do think Steve is right that a software engineering company can do very well with almost no management.
"First, Kill All The Environmentalists," Adam T. Yoshida, The Shotgun Blog, June 11, 2008:
When you take out your credit card to pay for that next tank of gas, know that you’re being robbed. But understand also that you’re not being robbed by the gas station owner or the oil company. You’re being robbed by lunatic environmentalists and their fellow travelers who, like all of the social and economic engineers in the history of the world, have irrationally convinced themselves that they may amend the laws of man and nature and not pay a price for it.
Note: The above post does not have anything to do with gay marriage.
"first, kill all the architects," Donald Lehr, in "Fourteen Authors to Check Out During National Engineers Week," National Engineers Week Foundation:
JAMES BRADBERRY is an architect, as is his protagonist Professor Jamie Ramsgill. This book is sure to please all those engineers who have muttered, or at least thought, "First, kill all the architects," to paraphrase Shakespeare. In THE SEVENTH SACRAMENT, the great architects of the world gather in Italy for a design competition, but someone is killing off the competitors one by one. Professor Ramsgill goes looking for the culprit. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY called this "...a taut, intricate tale." (St. Martin's Mass Market Paper, l995, List price $4.99, ISBN 0312956363)
"first kill all of the vegetation," Hokijamoki, Yahoo! Answers, 4 years ago:
If you are going to extend your driveway with gravel you should first kill all of the vegetation with roundup or a similar herbicide. In fact, you can even spray it with an herbicide/pre-emergent. This not only kills the existing grass, it keeps seeds from starting up.
Actually, this wasn't as apocalyptic as it first sounded. And I'm not entirely it was a riff on Shakespeare.