The Universe of Discourse

Fri, 17 Apr 2020

Earlier dumpster fires

In my previous article I claimed

the oldest known metaphorical use of “dumpster fire” is in reference to the movie Shrek the Third.

However, this is mistaken. Eric Harley has brought to my attention that the phrase was used as early as 2003 to describe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. According to this Salt Lake Tribune article:

One early use found by Oxford Dictionaries' Jeff Sherwood was a 2003 movie review by the Arizona Republic's Bill Muller that referred to that year's remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as "the cinematic equivalent of a dumpster fire — stinky but insignificant."

If Sherwood is affiliated with Oxford Dictionaries, I wonder why this citation hasn't gotten into the Big Dictionary. The Tribune also pointed me to Claire Fallon's 2016 discussion of the phrase.

Thank you, M. Harley.

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