Posted by ESC on May 05, 2007
In Reply to: What have you done for me lately posted by Smokey Stover on May 05, 2007
: : : I'm looking for the origin of the phrase "what have you done for me lately?" I'm pretty sure it wasn't Janet Jackson's song - but I can't find any info about it - only that it's used everywhere. Any help?
: : This isn't much help, but Google News Archive shows several papers carrying the same article around Jan 19, 1954 containing:
: : "Besides, My realistic and logical Friends, What have you done for us lately? take, for instance, India"
: : and several other similar in the 50's and 60's.
: I can't be much help either, but I think "what have you done for me lately" derives from "What has he ever done for me?"--also seen as "What have you ever done for me?" There's a literature that I cannot point to that juxtaposes the two, in a way--something like, "For these hard guys, it's not important what you've done for them. What count's is what you've done for them LATELY."
I thought Safire would have that phrase in his political dictionary, but he didn't.