Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Gladiators, lions, and such images

One can vote for or against a person or issue. One can vote "yes" or "no", which are merely synonyms for "for" and "against", in this context. But one does not vote "up" or "down". The closest might be a group in an elevator, voting for or against going up. Or for or against going down.

This is why the recent prevalence of "up or down vote" references in the media irritates me to no end. I don't know
where this phrase originated; I don't recall ever hearing it until the past few years, mostly in discussion of presidential nominees. Now it's everywhere: "The El Tejon district's Board of Trustees approved the course 3-2 with a revised syllabus in a Jan. 1 session, during which board members had to vote up or down on the entire winter session curriculum."

I dislike the phrase. It evokes a caligulish dictator turning his thumb up or down to grant life or death...