Money Shot
Posted: 04 June 2008 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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About 45 mins and 45 seconds into the last hour of Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room (about 6:45 p.m. ET Wednesday June 4th), Jeffrey Toobin, Jack Cafferty, Gloria Borger and Wolf are discussing when Hillary Clinton will drop out.  At one point Ms. Borger says, “Don’t worry you’ll get the money shot of the two of them together holding their raised hands in the air”

Jack at first has a small reaction then turns to Jeffrey Toobin to his right (which happens to be almost directly into the camera); Toobin smiles almost imperceptibly and while Ms. Borger is coming to a conclusion in her remarks, Jack says, “Did, uh, you say, ‘Money Shot?’” To which she replies, yeah, you know and pumps her right hand in the air pantomiming the two candidates holding hands.  Jack turns to Toobin and Toobin is now smiling broadly and finally says, “it’s, it’s...Jack and I’ll just keep that to ourselves.” Blitzer meanwhile plows professionally forward.

Wiki suggests that the phrase is originally from the general movie industry

slang for the image that costs the most money to produce. For example, in an action thriller, an expensive special effects sequence of a dam bursting might be called the “money shot” of the film.

The third meaning seems to be what Cafferty and Toobin were, uh smiling, about.  I would have thought that the origin of the phrase might have been in the porn industry and moved to the general movie making world.  But I have no way of checking that out.  Wiki suggests that it is the reverse siding, it seems with the OED.

Sounds like Toobin, Cafferty and I (and at least this one blog) are stuck in that third generation of metaphor.  And thus in the gutter.

[ Edited: 04 June 2008 07:52 PM by George ]
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Posted: 05 June 2008 03:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Poor, poor innocent me.  My first impression, going only on seeing the thread title on the main page, was that it was, e.g., the twenty foot putt that would insure the victory for Tiger, or the buzzer beating three-pointer that Kobe made giving the Lakers the championship.  Then, when I got into the post a little bit and had the original context, I thought it was the shot that the photographer could sell for the greatest amount of money.

Oh, well.  So much for innocence.

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Posted: 05 June 2008 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a sexual allusion, no matter how secondary or recondite, will inexorably overwhelm previous uses of a word or phrase.

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Posted: 05 June 2008 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The OED3 (updated March 2008) has the porn sense first, from 1977. Their first cite in the generic sense is from 1990.

I’ve found this in an article on boxing from the Troy N.Y. Times-Record of 27 Jan 1950, p.14:

Every one of the sextet is on the rise and a smash performance could mean a big money shot in the near future.

This is a different usage though, referring to a shot at the big money. There are lots of other uses of this money shot in sportswriting from the early 1950s. There may be older uses in this sense, I limited my search to 1950-1980 and this was the first to come up.

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Posted: 05 June 2008 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FWIW, I’m not especially plugged-in to either the porn or general entertainment industry, but I recall reading/hearing the term “money shot” in the porn sense and context long before encountering it in the general movie context.  I’d go along with the implication of the OED cites that it originated in the porn industry (where it was essentially synonymous with “come shot”, i.e., showing visible ejaculation) and spread to general movie use (and beyond) based on the sense “what the customer is paying to see”.

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Posted: 05 June 2008 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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languagehat - 05 June 2008 05:00 AM

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a sexual allusion, no matter how secondary or recondite, will inexorably overwhelm previous uses of a word or phrase.

This is probably the case in most instances, but I’ve been wondering about ‘chickenhawk’. In the ‘70s I heard the word used with reference to gay men who liked younger partners, but the vast majority of instances that I’ve seen since refer to those who support war vocally but aren’t inclined to fight themselves. And I doubt if most of those who use it in that sense are even aware of the sexual meaning.

I don’t know which sense is older; both seem to date from around the ‘70s.

As a mild curiosity, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word used to refer to an actual bird.

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Posted: 05 June 2008 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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As a mild curiosity, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word used to refer to an actual bird.

Do cartoon birds count?

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Posted: 05 June 2008 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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languagehat - 05 June 2008 05:00 AM

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a sexual allusion, no matter how secondary or recondite, will inexorably overwhelm previous uses of a word or phrase.

That’s probably why London Underground doesn’t employ fluffers any more.

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Posted: 05 June 2008 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dr. Techie wrote: “As a mild curiosity, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word [chickenhawk] used to refer to an actual bird.”

Decades ago when I was a kid in rural Tennessee, and my family kept a flock of chickens, one of the risks was that a chickenhawk might pick one off.  I suspect that the word as we used it might not have referred to a particular species of hawk, perhaps just to any of several raptors that occasionally dropped by.

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Posted: 05 June 2008 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Dr. Techie wrote: “As a mild curiosity, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word [chickenhawk] used to refer to an actual bird.”

No, kurwamac wrote that, I was just quoting by way of introducing my own comment.

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Posted: 06 June 2008 12:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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From Animals in the Fiction of Cormack McCarthy by Wallis R. Sanborn 2006

The boy tells a lie, for the baby chickenhawk is actually a sparrowhawk, but the bounty is not for sparrowhawks; it is for chickenhawks.  Chickenhawks prey upon chickens ...

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Posted: 06 June 2008 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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That’s an excellent point about “chickenhawk,” kurwamac!

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Posted: 06 June 2008 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The birds many of us learned about on the farm were called “chicken hawks”, two words, and many dictionaries have the two word variation. Some few dictionaries have the one word variation. Onelook has “Quick definitions (chicken hawk) # noun:  nontechnical term for any hawks said to prey on poultry”

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Posted: 08 June 2008 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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... as evidenced in my previous citation ...

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Posted: 08 June 2008 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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In porn it could also be called the payload

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Posted: 09 June 2008 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I heard the “money shot” used here in Oz a couple of weeks ago on a TV show about advertising. Various ad execs were discussing advertising and one spoke of the money shot as that part of the ad where the client’s product was prominently featured. It’s meaning was unambiguous and it had no sexual overtone. In a 30 second ad you had 27 seconds of something, followed by the money shot at the end with the product clearly shown. There was no suggestion it was the expensive part of the ad to produce, but perhaps where the ad agency got its pay for including a reference to the client’s product. No money shot, no payment for the ad. This context would make sense of the Clinton/Obama arm waving that was mentioned in the OP.

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