Thursday, 8 April 2010

rocket science

When I was growing up in the 1950s, the most difficult job that one could imagine was that of a brain surgeon. This gave rise to a popular expression of incredulity directed at someone’s inability to understand a relatively mundane concept:

“It’s not brain surgery!”

However, sometime during the 1970s, probably in response to what would have been seen as the marvel of space exploration, brain surgery went out of fashion as a basis for comparison. In its place, the new remonstration:

“It’s not rocket science!”

The term ‘rocket scientist’ even made it into Shania Twain’s 1998 hit That Don’t Impress Me Much as a proxy for a smart-arse. But did you notice the ‘dumbing down’ that this change in popular usage implies?

Ask yourself: what, exactly, is rocket science? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s it. The whole of rocket science can be expressed in ten words.

It’s not brain surgery.

3 comments:

  1. I suspect the change of comparison had something to do with the once extremely popular "men on the moon" endeavor?

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  2. We always say "it's as easy as Pie", but then again when you think about it ,there's an awful lot of numbers to remember in the Pi 3.1419.....and all that

    Nice one - like your style!

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  3. This is so good. I was talking to this guy at a party on Monday who was studying aerospace engineering at university and acting as if that made him gods gift. I wish I could've shown him this.

    ReplyDelete

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