Tag Archives: snowclones

all your X are belong to us

This originates in the Internet memetic spread of a 2000 animation that cut together scenes from the Japanese video game Zero Wing in which a character says “all your base are belong to us” with various Photoshoppings of the same phrase. [Ed: if you haven't seen this video before, I suggest you watch it before proceeding further.] The odd phrasing (a result of poor translation) seems idiomatic to native English speakers and thus lends itself to being snowcloned. Thus it has spread from the leet enclaves of the web (i.e. Something Awful) to the headlines of posts on Reason.com (all your economic decisions are belong to us) and the Center for Democracy & Technology (all your browsing history are belong to us) relatively quickly.

Because of the phrase’s idiomaticity, X may be singular or plural or otherwise not quite line up with the restrictions normally implied by “all your”. Variations include Trek (as in Star Trek), geolocation, [hard] drives, big data, candy, tax cuts. In 2006, the Tensor found with snowclone.pl that X other than “base” most frequently was blogs, audioscrobbler, snakes, bass, bias, skyscrapers, iraq, athens, and typos. I do not see a feature restriction on X like must-only-have-one-or-two-syllables, which makes it more flexible than other snowclones. In cliche years, it is very young, however, so it remains to be seen whether or how this snowclone will flourish.

consider the X

Ben Zimmer wrote this one up on Language Log a year ago. Here is my summary of that article.

It originated in Luke 12:24 of the Bible, X0 being both “consider the crows” and “consider the lilies”. “Consider” is translated from the Greek “observe fully”, so when using this snowclone, you’re instructing the reader to think carefully about X and compare some of its qualities to himself. X must be restricted to flora and fauna in order to evoke the original, and famous instances include daisies, cod, fish, termite, oyster, armadillo.