Posted by ESC on December 01, 2004
In Reply to: Harry Grout posted by Lewis on December 01, 2004
: : : They were busy trying to dismantle the dead, "velvet coffin" culture he helped build.
: : : = It must be an euphemistic or rather sarcastic expression, but what exactly does 'velvet coffin' mean? Is this an Americanism? What sort of corporate culture is this referring to? A rather bureaucratic, tall and inflexible + non-agile dinosaur-like organisation as in the sense of 'making elephants dance'? Is this expression used only to indicate a corporate culture? Any other possible usage?
: : I've heard "the velvet coffin" used to describe a loveless marriage to a wealthy man. The woman, either a younger, gold-digger type or a wide-eyed innocent, is surounded with luxury and opulance, but her need for love and romance is unfulfilled.
: : Also, "the velvet coffin" has been used to describe prison for the well connected. I suspect this is mainly a product of fiction, but lots of ganster movies portray the higher-ups of the Cosa Nostra wearing silk pajamas, drinking wine and cooking their own food in a specially equipted cell with a refrigerator, stove, TV, et.al.
: Harry Grout and Noel Cowerd were the original 'velvet cage' prisoners.
From the U.S. here. I've heard of a bird in a gilded cage. But not a "velvet coffin."