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Rick Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Rick Blue
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is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Rick Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding West Island Gazette..

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 09.10.14

RICK BLUE

We inhabit a brave new planet

MONTREAL | "Hey, if you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world..."

These words from a country song by Charlie Rich in 1974 reveal a phrase that I grew up with. The phrase is: "In the world."

This phrase pretty much described all we knew.

Someone was "the most something in the world:" "The richest man in the world;" "The most evil man in the world."

I have noticed, however, that some time between 1974 and now, that phrase has been replaced by another. The new phrase is: "On the planet."

"Hey, if you happen to see the most beautiful girl on the planet..."

So I got to wondering why this had happened. One reason could be that clichés have a time limit, and "In the world" had passed its best-before date. It got stale. And when something gets stale, it loses its taste. It has to be replaced with something juicy and new.

Another reason could be that we have entered a post-moon-walk era, where photos of the Earth are everywhere. So we can all see our world as a planet, floating in the infinite darkness of space.

This is the way we grow up now.

Also, there has been a rise in "science-speak" about our spherical home. People like to show their awareness of ideas and issues that affect (or should I say "impact?") the entire planet. To say that "the world is endangered by global warming" sounds too imprecise. "The planet is endangered by global warming" is snappier and has an air of scientific authority. You can picture the blue globe suddenly turning brown in your head.

Like so many other words and phrases that enter our speech patterns, the replacement of "world" with "planet" will probably seep into all the related clichés.

"What world do you live in?" will become "What planet do you inhabit?" And "He lives in his own world" will become "He lives on his own planet."

Will "The world is your oyster" become "The planet is your oyster?" And gospel singers chant "He's got the whole planet in his hands?"

At the risk of sounding like a crusty old fart, I am not thrilled about it. The word planet has a coldness to it. It is a stark image. "World" is warmer. It is like analog versus digital music. Or, like the more poetic imperial measuring system versus the cold and mathematical metric system.

I think people like to use the word "planet" because it implies more authority. As if someone who makes a declaration about the planet has done research and has statistics to back their statement up. It is part of our new secular and scientific world view.

The world is the province of philosophy and religion. Leibniz said it is "the best of all possible worlds." I don't think he would have ever thought that it is "the best of all possible planets."

This all might seem irrelevant to many people, but I believe that language reveals a lot about our society. And the changes in language reveal and mirror the changes in our view of the universe and our place in it.

To read Rick Blue's complete column on the West Island Gazette, click here Rick Blue blog on West Island Gazette
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