Saturday, 16 May 2009

Collocation, collocation, collocation

Do you think it is likely that Stuart Proffitt, the publishing director of Penguin Press, actually said ‘People in the book business are always saying there’s a crisis and we’re going to hell in a handbasket’? Handbasket? We usually descend to the infernal region in a handcart, which has the advantage of wheels to facilitate the onward motion. A handbasket would require a slippery slope of a considerably steeper angle to initiate the slide towards doom.

Or was Mr Proffitt correctly transcribed by the Guardian? Perhaps a distant memory of Margaret Thatcher’s demonic handbag was in his mind at the time. Perhaps he believes we have a dog-in-hell’s chance, or that hell might melt over?

1 comment:

K. Whalen said...

Is he American, I didn't think so, but that 'handbasket' is what my Midwestern US born grandmother always said. It never seemed to make much sense to me either.