As hip as breaking one's hip

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aintor

Senior Member
Chinese
"For most people, purchasing a hearing aid sounds about as hip as breaking one's hip"

I read this sentence in The Nature of Marketing, and i guess the phrase in red means "embarrassed" or something like that, but i am not so sure, can anyone please help confirm?

Thanks.
 
  • Momerath

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Hip" here means "cool". Having a hearing aid is "uncool" because it is associated with old age, as is breaking one's hip. A rather nasty ageist play on words!
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Hip" here means "cool". Having a hearing aid is "uncool" because it is associated with old age, as is breaking one's hip. A rather nasty ageist play on words!
    Thank you. So what does "break one's hip" normally means? is it a idiom?
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    No, it's the same kind of expression as "as much fun as going to the dentist". Going to the dentist is not fun at all, and neither is the activity that is being compared to it. In this case, breaking a hip is not "hip" or cool and so getting a hearing aid isn't, either.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I expect there is a grammatical term for this kind of expression.
    ... it's as <adjective> as <something that isn't at all adjective>
    - meaning it is not at all <adjective>

    It's as much fun as a wet weekend in Bognor.
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I expect there is a grammatical term for this kind of expression.
    ... it's as <adjective> as <something that isn't at all adjective>
    - meaning it is not at all <adjective>

    It's as much fun as a wet weekend in Bognor.
    Thank you, that explained everything!

    And thank the rest of you too!!
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I think there's a very subtle specific point being taken with this example.

    Here, I think they're saying just what Momerath wrote. It's a definite put-down/mocking insult using something that's associated with growing old.

    If they had wanted to point out that something was about as much fun as doing something else - without the intended age-insult, they would have expressed it differently:

    For most people, purchasing a hearing aid is about as much fun as breaking one's hip.

    So the style of the comparison has some consistency, but the intent in expressing it varies greatly, depending how it's worded. This example lessons the insult, but keeps the mutual understanding that it's not a wonderful experience.

    aintor, in your particular example, it's a very clear slam against growing old and how a lot of us view the people who are older. It even contributes to perpetuating the self-identity of older people with each other.

    AngelEyes
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think there's a very subtle specific point being taken with this example.

    Here, I think they're saying just what Momerath wrote. It's a definite put-down/mocking insult using something that's associated with growing old.

    If they had wanted to point out that something was about as much fun as doing something else - without the intended age-insult, they would have expressed it differently:

    For most people, purchasing a hearing aid is about as much fun as breaking one's hip.

    So the style of the comparison has some consistency, but the intent in expressing it varies greatly, depending how it's worded. This example lessons the insult, but keeps the mutual understanding that it's not a wonderful experience.

    aintor, in your particular example, it's a very clear slam against growing old and how a lot of us view the people who are older. It even contributes to perpetuating the self-identity of older people with each other.

    AngelEyes

    Hi AngelEyes, thank you. your point stands either. But i am not so sure about the intended age-insult, because The Nature of Marketing is a book written by the CEO of DDB Worldwide, who definitely won't risk to offend any potential reader or trigger any social dissatisfaction is he wants his book to sell.
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    As other people have suggested, falling down and breaking one's hip is a stereotypical injury that happens to old people. The idea is that no one wants to buy a hearing aid because that makes one feel like a really feeble, helpless old person (and breaking a hip is the kind of thing that happens to that kind of person).

    If you want to translate it, choose something unfavorable that's associated with old people.

    But i am not so sure about the intended age-insult, because The Nature of Marketing is a book written by the CEO of DDB Worldwide, who definitely won't risk to offend any potential reader or trigger any social dissatisfaction is he wants his book to sell.
    I disagree. Ageism (anti old people bias) is fairly acceptable in American culture. Respecting old people is not at all necessary for a book like that to sell.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    You're right, aintor, I don't have the whole picture, but I find nothing in your example that's outright complimentary - at best, it may be a self-deprecating statement, where you might roll your eyes and smile about the way aging is viewed in our society, and where that puts you in the mix if you need a hearing aid. Kind of an: "Oh, well. Such is life."

    Hip is something most people wouldn't mind being, so if doing something makes you sound like just the opposite, it doesn't paint a pretty picture.

    Since this is a marketing piece, maybe they go on and discuss how the challenge would be to figure out how to make an action (buying a hearing aid) appear to be something that one would be proud to do and tell others they did, and would make them appear hip or somehow socially valid when doing it.

    The problem is hip is viewed as youth-oriented and the action performed (buying a hearing aid) is closely tied to aging. You have opposing meanings in your example sentence if you want it to be thoroughly positive. Some might be offended by the fact the sentence didn't give any alternatives in looking at the up side of buying a hearing aid. I mean, they compare it to breaking your hip!

    But we're just looking at what you've given us, and this is just another viewpoint for you to consider when trying to figure out the meaning behind these words. :)

    AngelEyes
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The choice of "hip" is probably influenced by two factors.
    First, that it is a term that would be immediately familiar to the population likely to be interested in buying hearing aids. It is, surely, a long time since "hip" was youth-oriented!
    Second, that it makes the joke simile possible.
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Since this is a marketing piece, maybe they go on and discuss how the challenge would be to figure out how to make an action (buying a hearing aid) appear to be something that one would be proud to do and tell others they did, and would make them appear hip or somehow socially valid when doing it.

    AngelEyes
    Yeah, just like what you said, the case followed tells a marketing campaign that makes people feel hearing aid can also be cool.

    Thank you.
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I disagree. Ageism (anti old people bias) is fairly acceptable in American culture. Respecting old people is not at all necessary for a book like that to sell.
    I didn't know that, thanks for telling me this. haha
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The choice of "hip" is probably influenced by two factors.
    First, that it is a term that would be immediately familiar to the population likely to be interested in buying hearing aids. It is, surely, a long time since "hip" was youth-oriented!
    Second, that it makes the joke simile possible.
    Haha, good points, maybe even the writer himself doesn't his writing is so informative. Thank you
     
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