When you set yourself the task of micro-managing the perfection of the human race, nothing is too trivial to issue guidelines about. Turns out now that “hold down the fort”, ‘Going Dutch” and “rule of thumb” are new linguistic menaces that could offend jerks who spend all their time looking for ways to be offended. Me: If I want to offend such people (and a large part of me does) I would not do so by such a roundabout method as using a cliche with a dubious etymological origin. I would just say, “Hey! Hypersensitive jerk! You’re a human toothache! Offended yet?”
I refuse to be held hostage to the emotional blackmail of people in desperate need of Insensitivity Training. Happily, such people exist almost entirely in the Professionally Aggrieved Greivance Professional Community in the Hothouses of State and Academy. No normal person goes around fretting about this rubbish.
Meanwhile, David Mitchell deals with the *real* crisis that pertains to the phrase “hold down the fort”: