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    #1

    put the harps back in the closet

    Excerpt from Reuters news:
    Former
    President George H.W. Bushremained in the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital on Thursday, but his longtime chief of staff issued a reassuring message, urging the media and the public to "put the harps back in the closet."

    Query:What is meant by "
    put the harps back in the closet."

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    #2

    Re: put the harps back in the closet

    I think this is a joking reference to the harps that angels might play as someone ascends to heaven.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: put the harps back in the closet

    Some newspapers and members of the public will have assumed that George Bush Snr was about to die. The media were probably preparing obituaries etc. However, as he appears to be recovering, they will all need to hold fire and not get carried away. As JMurray said, angels carry harps and, in religious circles (Christianity at least), angels with harps appear when someone dies and the angels accompany them to heaven. It's not yet time to use those harps so they should be put back in the (metaphorical) storage cupboard where they are kept.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: put the harps back in the closet

    PS - it's a one-off usage - not (in the language I use) idomatic. (Incidentally, it seems to me rather poorly thought through: do the metaphorical angels keep their harps - unused - in journalists' actual closets? Perhaps the metaphorical angels live in metaphorical closets, waiting to be dusted off harps and all at the first whiff of an obituary? )

    b

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    #5

    Re: put the harps back in the closet

    It has been reported that Der Spiegel mistakenly published an obituary for George H.W. Bush on its website for a few minutes on Sunday. So perhaps some angels had indeed taken their harps out the closet prematurely, the German-speaking ones anyway.

    Magazine mistakenly publishes Bush obit

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