What does 'Gray is the new green' (in Intern) mean?

in #kr6 years ago


Rob Fletcher, native British English speaker living in California. English literature grad.
Answered Nov 28 2016 · Author has 1.2k answers and 4.1m answer views
Ananth Kumar's answer is correct in saying it suggests hiring older people is a current trend.

The particular phrasing of “gray is the new green” ties to a familiar cliche when talking about fashion to say “x is the new black” meaning that x is currently considered stylish. Black clothes (in particular the idea of a “little black dress”) are considered something that can never really go out of style the way bolder colors could.

Phrases of that form have become very common over the last decade or so. It started with fashion writers declaring “brown is the new black”, “green is the new black” and so on to the point that it became a cliché. From there use expanded such that even the “black” part could be changed but the meaning (x is now cool in the way y was or is) is retained. An example is “comedy is the new rock 'n' roll” which itself became a cliché in the late 1990s when the UK saw a trend of comedy / rock hybrid shows and comedians selling out stadium venues. Now it’s very common to see headlines like “Knitting is the new Yoga”[1] in style pages.

The title of Netflix’s show Orange is the New Black is a play on the phrase. The protagonist has exchanged her fashionable clothes for (orange) prison uniform and by extension a life of freedom for one of imprisonment. Phrasing it that way suggests she’s trying to frame it as a style decision.

Other examples are the title of the 2001 Kings of Convenience album Quiet is the New Loud or the 2012 management book Risky is the New Safe.

The kind of phrase — such as “x is the new y” — where you can substitute one or more parts while retaining the familiar structure is known as a “snowclone”.



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