Battlepanda: Literally full of Claptraps


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Literally full of Claptraps

How fascinating in the wake of the stand-and-clap fest that was the SoTU to read this by Neil Gaimon, which commenter Sasha quoted at Legal Fiction:
I've long known that Claptrap means rubbish or nonsense. I was browsing in a dictionary the other day, as one does, and learned that it came from things one could say on a stage or to an audience that meant very little, but were automatic applause-getters. (Things that literally trap, well, clapping.) And it's also the name of a machine they had once in old theatres that simulated the sound of applause. It's such a good word: anything declaimed from the stage that gets people clapping without thinking. Claptrap. And just as applicable to any side in a political debate...

And now we know. By the way, if there are any congressional candidates reading this, I'll match Publius' contribution to any campaign running on a platform of not standing and clapping during the SoTU.