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August 12, 2009


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Elephants in the room make an encore (and similary hallucinogenic) appearance as Heffalumps in the Disney version of "Winnie-the-Pooh."

With very few exceptions (Stephen Fry, perhaps), I wouldn't really expect celebrities to have a better ability than most to be able to navigate the shoals of English usage. By which I mean, finding malapropisms from celebrities sounds like shooting monkeys in a barrel of laughs.

All that said, I like the image of a pink elephant in the room. It's _extra_ strange not to talk about that one. :-)

In Ms. Aniston's defense, she is by no means the first person to have colorized this idiom. If you search for ["pink elephant in the room"] on Google, you get 3.5 million results. The Wikipedia entry for the "elephant in the room" idiom points out that people often make the elephant pink when referring to a drinking problem that no one acknowledges. So this looks like an originally intentional idiom blend that's become conventionalized and now bleached of its association with substance abuse. In fact, when an interview of American Idol contestant Adam Lambert turned to the topic of his sexual orientation, which the interviewer described as "the elephant in the room", Lambert said, "that elephant, man, it's pink, isn't it?".

@NameInspector and @Mike: I'm now wondering whether this particular "pink" is meant to signify "female." Pink is the universal color of chick-lit covers, after all.

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