Thursday, June 30, 2011

Think For Yourself

Morning, Psychonauts!

And what a glorious morning it is. Today, with this post, I mark the first full month that I was able to bring you a post every day without having to apologize for flaking out and missing one on you. That's right. If you look on the sidebar there for June, you will see the number 30 parenthetically referenced next to the month, proving my accomplishment. And I'm damn proud.

By this point you're probably asking, what does he have in store for us today for such an important milestone? Well, friends, I was sitting at my keyboard floundering for a proper story to tell. First, I came upon this giggle-inspiring blurb from entitled "Best Headline Ever", telling of how NBC Nightline's To Catch A Predator host had been caught in a hidden camera operation having an affair with a woman 20 years his junior. I started the bit, but it just wasn't flowing right, so it got axed.

Then, I started surfing, my usual go-to website for interesting and relevant news to poke fun at. Again, I quickly stumbled upon a pair of promising candidates. The first, a news story from the Hindustan Times describing the growing trend of Indian parents forcing their children to undergo a transsexual surgical procedure, changing them from girls to boys to cater to the national fetish of having a son. Or, for something a little lighter, I could have chosen the story from Ohio in which a woman was arrested after spraying police with her breast milk in an unruly fashion. Again, certainly a proper piece of subject matter for this pit of general filth, but something just didn't feel right as I started to flesh out the post. So once again it was scrapped and deleted.

I worriedly turned to an associate of mine, moaning that I was concerned I wouldn't be able to provide a quality piece on today's important post. I was stuck, and the last thing I wanted to do was throw up another cop-out post of a song and say "Have a good day". That simply just would not have done at all.

And then, FLASH! Inspiration!

Where the hell did the term "cop-out" come from, anyway? We use the term today to describe an avoidance of a responsibility, or a general lack of effort in a task. But had it always been this way? When did the word "cop" become synonymous with unscrupulous behavior? And for the answer, I went to, a British site devoted to etymology.

And here is what I found.

A fully American invention, according to the source, "cop-out" originated at the turn of the 20th Century, originally meaning to steal or take for one's self. The site provides a quote from The Fortune Hunter by Louis Joseph Vance (1910):
He simply can’t lose, can’t fail to cop out the best-looking girl with the biggest bank-roll in town.
It wasn't until the 1930s that "cop-out" began to take on the meaning which is associated with the police, when it evolved into a slang term which meant to plea-bargain or confess to the police. It was with this connotational evolution that "cop-out" began to be used to describe an individual giving up on the criminal life-style, apparently beginning in the 1950s.

By the 1960s, "cop-out" had effectively completed its metamorphosis to the phrase we know and love today, meaning "an excuse, a pretext, a going back on your responsibilities to avoid trouble, a cowardly or feeble evasion."

And with that, time to put the beast out to pasture. I'm done with this post, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. And never let it be said that I "copped-out" on you for this important milestone.

Enjoy the day, freaks and freak-ettes. Love ya

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