4.02.2008 | A turn of phrase

Perhaps a sign of the times in which we live, a phrase made popular four years ago seems to be making a comeback. Or "turning a corner," if you will.

Made popular in modern times by President Bush's attempts to describe progress in Iraq, especially on the campaign trail in 2004 (and afterward), the phrase made a surprise appearance more recently when Senator Clinton used it to describe her campaign's fortunes after her (arguably) pyrrhic victories in Texas and Ohio. But since then, I've seen the phrase pop up in a quote from a midwesterner in this BBC article about the world's opinion of America, which told me something must be up.

Maybe it's just me, but I remember more definite turns of phrases, like "light at the end of the tunnel," or "turning things around" (as long as we're going to turn something). But since it's been used to describe American progress in Iraq, however incremental it might be, it can't help but carry a connotation that there's a much longer and involved process afoot. And there are no shortage of problems in America today that might need such an approach for solving them.

And then there are the Yoko Ono lyrics to the song of the same name:

I turned a corner,
It didn't seem that was wrong,
I was just having a laugh.
But suddenly my friends are gone
And I didn't know that life would be so long.

I guess more than a question of how many corners we'll have to turn, it's what's around the corner (or what isn't) when we get there that counts.

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