So yesterday I'm reading an article in Slate itemizing government idiocy, and I come across the following sentence:
We are witnessing that rare occasion when the phrase "I don't know whether to laugh or cry" can be uttered without lapsing into cliché.
Really? We are?
Has the writer successfully avoided cliché by couching a cliché as he did? (My vote: No. The sentence is clumsy and hackish.)
On a deeper note, can a cliché ever not be a cliché?
(Actually, I do recall one other rare occasion when the phrase "I don't know whether to laugh or cry" could possibly have been uttered without lapsing into cliché. Years ago, in an attempt to manifest a version of the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment for a school science fair project, I locked a clown in a large wooden box. I arranged the triggering device so that it had a 50% chance of launching a cream pie at Hobo Jim's face, and a 50% chance of hitting him with an exploding baby. [Not everyone is familiar with quantum mechanics, so here is some background: Pies in the face are funny. Gruesome infant fatality is horrendous.] Until I opened that box to witness the results, I truly did not know whether to laugh or cry. So I did both.)