Senior Editor
02.20.08 29 Comments

This story’s a little old, but no one seems to have picked up on it.  Anyway, it’s a USA Today report about how "I drink your milkshake" from There Will be Blood has become the hot catchphrase (and an Oscar-season promotional tool, as you can see from the schwag the studio’s sending around – pictured at left).

New York magazine even offers a user’s guide to the phrase. It suggests using it as sports metaphor ("The Celtics drank the Knicks’ milkshake last night"), a sexual double entendre or a taunt, as in "You’d best back down before I drink your milkshake."

But more interesting than the look-what-the-kids-are-doin angle is the story of the phrase’s origin:

[Director Paul Thomas] Anderson concedes that he’s puzzled by the phenomenon — particularly because the lines came straight from a transcript he found of the 1924 congressional hearings over the Teapot Dome scandal, in which Sen. Albert Fall [this guy] was convicted of accepting bribes for oil-drilling rights to public lands in Wyoming and California.  In explaining oil drainage, Fall’s "way of describing it was to say ‘Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I’ll end up drinking your milkshake,’ "

In related news, my great-great grandfather Abelard originated the phrase "threw him under the bus" when he pushed a young waif under the wheels of a passing trolley as a practical joke.  "Bully!" he shouted, and everyone had a droll time.  

[Thanks to BGavin for the tip]


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