"Bury That Iguana": The Birth of a Trash-Talk Term

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 23 2014 11:20 AM

"Bury That Iguana": The Birth of a Trash-Talk Term

158564245-former-florida-governor-charlie-crist-testifies-before
That iguana, Charlie Crist.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Over at Language Log, Mark Liberman is curious about a diss from a former Mitt Romney aide. Team Romney was understandably annoyed, in 2008, when Charlie Crist welshed on a promise to endorse the fading Rudy Giuliani, and instead backed Romney's main Florida primary competitor, John McCain. The quote, via CNN's Peter Hamby:

“Dem or Republican, I’ll do whatever I can to bury that iguana,” said Will Ritter, a former Romney aide and GOP consultant. “For as long as I live. For free.”
Advertisement

Liberman can't find any other examples of a man being called an "iguana" as an insult. A louse? Sure. A rat? Plenty. Not an iguana. "Web search," writes Liberman, "suggests a sneakier and more unpleasant reason for Will Ritter to have chosen that word — e.g. Bob Norman, 'The Talk of the Green Iguana.' " That is to say, maybe Ritter was trying to further the rumor that Crist frequented a gay bar.

Ritter says no. "I'd never seen that piece, nor would I care either way," he tells me. To him, iguana meant "reptilian, creepy, heartless."

Case closed, unless Crist wants to appeal.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.