Metaphor, formerly Phil Spector’d, resurrected.

Republicans have no economic policy except tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.  You might say they’re playing their obsession on an infinite loop.

…except that the “infinite loop” metaphor is dying, almost dead.  At 41, I’m almost certainly one of the youngest people to use (in middle school, when it was already almost obsolete) a reel-to-reel tape player on which one could actually splice the tape containing some music or words into a loop for the machine to play ceaselessly.  Granted, “infinite loop” is also programming talk for a subroutine from which there’s no exit—hence Apple Computer’s corporate address—but that’s hardly common knowledge.  I suspect most younger people have no idea what an infinite loop is, nor should they.

Steve Benen, though has coined the twenty-first century version:

It’s as if someone bought an ipod, uploaded one song, and hit “shuffle.”


Update: OK, it looks as if I got it wrong (as Kevin Drum and his commenters noted, as well as many of the comments below).  The audiotape term was endless loop.  Infinite loop always referred to programming.  My mistake.

But as I note a fair way down in the comment thread, my point stands, in slightly modified form: to say something is “playing in an endless loop” is a dying metaphor, and Benen’s one-song-shuffle remains an outstanding update.