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Re-watching old episodes of the X-Files. In which Agent Mulder says: (paraphrasing)

just pseudo-science used to make political book

(Transcript here)

(FYI The Episode was written by Mat Beck)

I can infer that it means, to add (false) weight to a political agenda or argument. (ie. making it a safer bet.)

I recall hearing the phrase before, sounds like a Hunter S Thompson, or beat era style phrase, but I'm unable to find any reference to it.

Can anyone help with definite meaning and/or etymology?

Edit: Please don't offer conjecture, I can guess all by myself.

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Are you sure it isn't "make a political book" or "make political books"? –  J.R. Jan 7 '13 at 8:46
    
@J.R. It's definitely "make political book" –  Matt Эллен Jan 7 '13 at 9:04
    
Thank you for adding the transcript. –  Slomojo Jan 7 '13 at 11:38
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Book making means taking bets. The term bookmaker in this sense, according to etymonline, is first found in 1862 and originates from the literal sense of making a book.

If you are a book maker then you set the odds on the things being gambled on. What Mulder means is that the pseudo-science is being used to fix the odds of certain things happening in politics.

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I believe what you mean to say is "What I think Mulder means is..." –  Slomojo Jan 7 '13 at 11:35
    
Nope, that's not what I mean to say. –  Matt Эллен Jan 7 '13 at 11:38
    
Plausible enough. –  Slomojo Jan 7 '13 at 11:45
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As much as I love the X-Files, I'm afraid Mulder is misusing the phrase here.

To "make book" is a back-formation from "bookmaker"; it means "to take bets".

I believe Mulder is mixing it up with "to score (political) points"; there's an easy association of ideas (one might keep score in a book; in fact, a bookmaker might keep score!) "To make political book" is not, however, a usually-accepted phrase.

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I know the phrase to "make book", it doesn't quite feel the same as the way it's phrased in the X-Files. Perhaps Mat Beck is creatively mixing his metaphors. –  Slomojo Jan 7 '13 at 11:37
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