Posted by Lexi on January 17, 2005
In Reply to: 'mail it in' posted by Lewis on January 17, 2005
: : : I looked forward with anticipation to a performance by
: : : the group, 'Chicago, a while back when I was in Reno, Nevada. What a disapointment to hear an underwhelming and totally devoid of energy rendition of the old classics. One of the other members of the audience, who also left early, said -- 'they really mailed it in!'
: : Similar to "phoned it in." I wonder which came first.
: "Phoned it in" is likely to be first - because a newspaper reporter will phone-in their report to the news desk, whereas Chicago had no urgency about their performance and 'mailed' the show as a contrast to the urgency of the telephone.
: if a reporter mailed a story, then that would suggest it was a feature that could wait, rather then a news story to be broken.
Mailing it in, or phoning it in, also refer to a performance that is without passion and perfunctory in every respect. When an actor or singer (or an athlete) is just going thru the steps to get on and get off, it is not very pleasant to watch and the audience can tell. Great artists may occasionally have an off day, but they do give performances that meet the expectations of their audiences. They rarely 'mail it in'.