There was the following line in a New York Times article (September 17), titled “Rick Perry, Uber Texan”:
“Then he was off to talk some more about economic growth in Texas. And lambastes the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, by saying that he would be treated “pretty ugly” in Texas. Some aides seemed surprised to find this was not regarded as presidential language, since Perry says that kind of thing in Texas all the time.”
I don’t know the idiom, “treat somebody ugly.” Although I guess it means something like beat up (in Texas), or socking a person (Ben Bernanke) on the jaw, what is it in plain English?
Is “Treat somebody ugly” a common and colloquial English phrase that I can use in day-to-day conversation? I’m asking this because the author (Gail Collins) brackets the word “pretty ugly,” in her article, and Perry’s aides were surprised to find the phrase wasn’t regarded as presidential language outside Texas, which suggests the phrase isn't a national currency.