You don't wanna go in the desert.
October 2, 2012 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Does this figure of speech from Spartan have a real-life antecedent/basis in military or law enforcement vernacular?

In the Mamet film Spartan (2004), Val Kilmer's character tries to get his colleague to shut up and listen hard: "You need to set your motherfucker to 'receive'."

Is this a Real Thing™?
posted by j_curiouser to Society & Culture (6 answers total)
Radios can be half-duplex - send or receive.
posted by zamboni at 9:26 AM on October 2, 2012

thanks, zamboni. that's a useful physical metaphor. But would anyone actually say that in a real-life context, as above?
posted by j_curiouser at 9:29 AM on October 2, 2012

Anyone who is old (aka over 30), and who has used walkie-talkies or shortwave radios, etc. My SO and I joke about being set to "send" or "receive".
posted by jb at 9:47 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've never heard that exact phrasing, but it doesn't seem out-of-place.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2012

I was a corpsman in the navy during the first Gulf War; drove an ambulance and worked in clinics mostly. There's a lot of jargon/catchphrasing in that environment, but I'd never heard that phrase before.

It's immediately evident what it means though, and it's kinda cool. I don't get into a lot of situations where it might be OK to say that to someone, but I'm going to have it on lock, just in case.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:52 PM on October 2, 2012

I've heard similar expressions several times from people connected to the military in the UK.
posted by prentiz at 3:15 PM on October 2, 2012

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