Size matters


Or so the saying goes. But when it comes to words about size, it’s the little one that counts. Big. You could say it’s the big daddy of size words.

A few years ago I wrote a couple of pages about ‘big’ in a book. Americans hate ‘big government’ was my starting point. But big’s not gone away. In fact, it’s got bigger.

A Blankety-Blank style poll of The Writer today came up with these big combos….Big picture. Big ideas. Big Brother. Big dipper. Big cheese. Big Sur. Big bananas. Big potatoes. Big Kahuna. Big belly. Big sleep. Big time. Big shop. Big Mac. Big Bertha. Big bang. Big foot. Big ‘ead. Big Easy. Big Issue. Big up.

It’s almost a poem, an Ode to Big. I was wondering about Big because it was another relaunch this week of David Cameron’s Big Society. It seems to me that this is an idea shaped by words. Behind it lies the imperative “we need a Big Idea” dreamed up by political party policy wonks. But there’s also a distancing from Margaret Thatcher’s belief: “There is no such thing as society.”

So I can understand why they got to the phrase ‘Big Society’. I suspect, though, that people’s real experiences will focus on big spending cuts and that will undermine the Big Society in a big way. Big. Such an innocent-looking little word. What’s big in your life?

 


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on Feb 16, 2011

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