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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:23 pm

• claptrap •

Pronunciation: klæp-træp • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Empty, pompous and pretentious drivel designed to gain approval. 2. Nonsense (babble, balderdash, baloney, blather, blatherskite, bunkum, drivel, garbage, hogwash, hooey, idiocy, malarkey, piffle, poppycock, rigmarole, rubbish, tommyrot, twaddle).

Notes: Today's Good Word is a bit on the slangy side and probably should be limited to conversation and informal writing. In its first sense it may be used in the plural, as in claptraps like 'God bless America', 'God save the queen', and 'lower taxes'. In the second sense it is a mass noun with no plural.

In Play: It would be a beautiful world if claptraps were flowers, for we find them all around us every day: "When the Buncombe boys were found guilty of killing their parents, they offered the judge some claptrap about being orphans to get a lighter sentence." This is the first sense of claptrap. Today the word more often refers to sheer nonsense, as in the second meaning above: "The airwaves today are filled with mindless political claptrap."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from the theater where, in early 18th century England a clap trap was a cheap, showy line guaranteed to 'trap a clap' from the audience. The word claptrap went on to refer to any line guaranteed to generate applause or appreciation, such as "Britannia rules the waves". Finally, it came to mean any kind of nonsense or rubbish. Be careful not to confuse claptraps with the slapstick of 'slapstick' comedy. Slapstick originally referred to a thin, flat board with a handle and another shorter flat board attached to it by piece of cloth or leather so that it slaps the first board, making any blow with it sound much louder and worse than it is.
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Postby MTC » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:45 am

Claptrap's synonym, bunk, also originated in the theatre-- political theatre. ( ... ist_b.html)

Speaking of claptrap and bunk, have any of you followed the Jodi Arias trial on T.V.? Her defense requires the willing suspense of disbelief.

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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:26 am

So why does Carolina get credit for bunk? It's hardly limited to any one county anywhere, any time!

Don't get me started on Arias. My TV is usually tuned to news, but there seems no longer a channel devoted to news. The world is blowing up, and they always are showing somebody's trial. I would pay for a newschannel that covers at least fifteen or twenty stories every half hour, constantly updating. Heck, I'd watch an AP news ticker.

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Postby MTC » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:30 am

Seems a bit unfair to tag Buncombe County and North Carolina with "bunk," doesn't it Perry? Especially considering B.S. is pretty evenly spread across the globe like peanut butter if you forgive a nauseating comparison. But there it is. Buncombe is not alone, however. What about Birmingham, England whose name became synonymous with cheap, gaudy trinkets? See

And as for "straight news," it's hard to come by if there ever was such a thing. All news has a certain editorial slant. On T.V. Fox and MSNBC cancel each other out, Right and Left. Rants, really.

The Arias trial fascinates me because as a lawyer I enjoy watching the courtroom styles of the attorneys, especially the dark art of cross examination which targets claptrap and bunk. Cross examination, "that great engine of truth," someone said.
I loved it. The verbose and overheated style of the prosecutor in the Arias trial I find particularly ineffective. Go in with a scalpel, not a blunderbuss. Still, the jury may eat it up if they do not succumb to exhaustion. Who knows...
Last edited by MTC on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:00 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:41 am

I sit with my remote constantly switching between
CNN, HLN, MSNBC,FOX. I am with you all. Why can't we
get the news without all the claptrap with and during
a news article. They have to constantly have to have
two experts with their 'unbiased' comments. Just give
me 15-20 minutes of worlds top stories.

I have BBC, Wales on Line, LondonTelegraph, France
Twenty-four, Manchester Chad, Moscow Times, and
would welcome any other suggestions. They cover
US news better than our own media, and I consult
them at least twice a day for updates.

As for HLN: I wish it would go back to Headline News,
and drop this 24-7 of some sensational gossip like
Arias and the Nancy Grace claptrap coverage before
Arias. Next it will be the Trayvon Martin killing on that
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby Slava » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:15 pm

As to brummagem, here is our Dr.'s take:
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

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