We’ve had a few interesting discussions here about snowclones. Snowclone is the unlovely name given to the notion of phrasal templates, or what might be called do-it-yourself cliché kits. One of the great snowclones of our age is “X is the new black“, a construction that generalizes into “X is the new Y”.
Search engines can give us a sense of the vast destructive power of a rampaging snowclone. A search for “is the new black” returns just over a million documents. I propose a Saffir-Simpson style scale for snowclonic power based on Google reach and associated cultural damage. For instance, Category One snowclones are not dangerous and generally reach no further than the speech of unimaginative mouth-breathers and bloggers. Prose and newscast copy are affected in a Category Two outbreak. A Cat Five snowclone can rip the tongues from unwary media figures and warp the cultural institutions of an entire generation.
Note: points will deducted from Gryffindor House for any mentions of our new overlords in the comments.