Pecksniffery #2: “Long time no see” considered by Colorado university as racist toward Asians

From Melissa Chen, who wrote about this issue on her Facebook page, we learn that Colorado State University has put the familiar phrase “Long time, no see” (meaning, “I haven’t seen you for a while”) onto a list of offensive “non inclusive” phrases (click on screenshot to go to the article). But below that you can read the original piece, by CSU student Katrina Leibee, who writes at the CSU student newspaper The Rocky Mountain Collegian (the piece has a disclaimer by the paper that it doesn’t represent the stand of the editorial board).

The original report:

Leibee reports that words like “freshman” is sexist and should be replaced by “first-years”. I have no problem with that, because I can see how women would take offense at the repeated use of “man” to imply “people,” as with “mankind.” Likewise, the phrase “you guys” seems a bit sexist; would anybody not see this if it were replaced with the phrase, “you girls” directed at everyone?

I try not to use such phrases myself.  But Leibee also reports more innocuous phrases that have been swept up in the Pecksniff Net:

After getting involved in residential leadership, I was told not to use the word “dorms,” and replace it with “residence halls.” Apparently, dorm refers to only a place where one sleeps, and residence hall refers to a place where we sleep, eat, study and participate in social activities.

A countless amount of words and phrases have been marked with a big, red X and defined as non-inclusive. It has gotten to the point where students should carry around a dictionary of words they cannot say.

In a meeting with Zahra Al-Saloom, the director of Diversity and Inclusion at Associated Students of Colorado State University, she showed me an entire packet of words and phrases that were deemed non-inclusive. One of these phrases was “long time, no see,” which is viewed as derogatory towards those of Asian descent.

Al-Saloom believes inclusive language is important at CSU.

Melissa, a Singaporean who speaks Mandarin, informed her Facebook friends that the “long time no see” phrase is not (as Wikipedia implies) derived from mocking Chinese or Pidgin speakers using broken English. The phrase is a literal translation of the Mandarin. It’s not like the phrase often used to mock the Chinese who ran laundries in America, “No tickee, no washee.”

As Melissa pointed out:

There must be a great deal of projection going on if you find “long time no see” racist to Asians.

It’s literally a direct translation of Mandarin syntax (好久不见) and has become a common turn of phrase.

Two other Mandarin speakers piped in:

“好 can also translate as ‘very’ so it would be ‘very long time, no see’ as well.”


“It’s more like “Good (好) Long-Time (久) No (不) See (见) , but that’s a negligible difference.”

It’s curious that that phrase, whose origins really are unknown, doesn’t seem to be objectionable to any Chinese people, just as Kimono Day at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts wasn’t objectionable to many Japanese, some of whom demonstrated in its favor. And I doubt that more than 0.01% of people who use the “long time no see” phrase even know that its origins may be a direct translation from the Chinese.

All too often it’s those who aren’t ethnically “qualified” to judge the degree of offense produced by a phrase—like Zahra Al-Saloom—who make these lists. But just to be sure that Ms. Al-Saloom isn’t Chinese and has a Middle Eastern name, here’s her photo from her Linked In profile, which has mysteriously disappeared:



  1. Jon Gallant
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The word “woman” must also be avoided, of course, because of its second syllable. I guess the politically correct version is Womxn, although the correct pronunciation is still under discussion. Needless to say, new forms will also be needed for such words as “helmsman”, “doorman”, and the “Manx” cat.

    • DutchA
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      True, but what about (TM) Mandarin itself?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      And menstruation and menopause. Oh, dear. That expression, “Oh, dear” must be hurtful to those who are dear to no one.

      • BJ
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        And “history” should be replaced with “peepstory.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      So no Manischewitz at Seder next year? 🙂

    • phil brown
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      “The spelling of “woman” in English has progressed over the past millennium from wīfmann[2] to wīmmann to wumman, and finally, the modern spelling woman.[3] In Old English, wīfmann meant “female human”, whereas wēr meant “male human”. Mann or monn had a gender-neutral meaning of “human”, corresponding to Modern English “person” or “someone”” (or so says Wikipedia, anyway)

      • Filippo
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Could there be an etymological connection between “women” and “womb”?

        • phil brown
          Posted November 14, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          “It is a popular misconception[5] that the term “woman” is etymologically connected to “womb”. “Womb” is actually from the Old English word wambe meaning “stomach” (modern German retains the colloquial term “Wampe” from Middle High German for “potbelly”).[6][7]” (Wikipedia, again.)

    • Chukar
      Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Of course the Isle of Man (to which Manx refers) will have to be eliminated. The residents could move to nearby Wales. Ireland should be avoided because – it should be obvious to everyone – the residents of the Land of Ire are perpetually enraged.

      BTW – there’s also the Manx Shearwater.

  2. Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    For some reason, I have always thought that “long time, no see” was an American Indian stereotype.

    • Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that was my thought also. If they wanted a phrase to insult Asians, they should have gone with “Love you long time”. LOL

      • XCellKen
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        I think you meant “Ruv you Wrong time”

  3. bonetired
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Oxford Dictionaries reckons that the phrase “long time no see” is in fact of Native American origin !

    They also note that it is of offensive origin !

    • Kyle B.
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Interestingly, the Oxford English Dictionary entry itself doesn’t completely believe the Native American origin, other than perhaps as making fun of nonstandard English from a non-native speaker. They claim for the origin (everything within square brackets is from accessed on November 14, 9:30PM UTC)

      [Apparently < Chinese Pidgin English, after Chinese hǎojiǔ bú jiàn ( < hǎojĭu long (time), lit. ‘good long (time)’ + bù not, no + jiàn to see, meet) and (with a different word for ‘not’) hǎojĭu méi jiàn .

      A North American Indian origin is unlikely, as isolating constructions of this kind do not normally occur in the agglutinating languages of North America; quot. 1894 appears to reflect indiscriminate attribution of a nonstandard expression to a non-native speaker of English.]

      • Pui Wah
        Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Most of the people I mix with are Chinese (all immigrants with Chinese or Cantonese as their mother tongues) and have from time to time greeted me in English with ‘Long time, no see,’ and I greeted them with ‘Hao jiu, bu jian.’ It all seems quite innocuous.

        • Kiwi Dave
          Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          Oops. For some reason, WEIT (or WordPress)occasionally confuses me with my wife. That post by Pui Wah was really by Kiwi Dave.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Kemosabe.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha ha!

      • BJ
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        I’m surprised the Ninja Turtles are still around. I guess the pecksniffs just haven’t found out about them yet.

      • Richard
        Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        I once saw an amusing greetings card which had the caption “The Lone Ranger, long since retired, makes an unpleasant discovery”.

        The picture showed a fat bewhiskered old man, sitting in an overstuffed armchair by a bookcase with a book open in his hands. Hanging on pegs on the wall behind him were a white Stetson, a black mask and a pair of holstered six-guns. The spine of the book said “Indian Dictionary”, and a thought-bubble above the man’s head said “Ah, here it is. ‘Kemosabe’: Apache word for a horse’s rear end. What the heck?!”.

    • Chukar
      Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      From blog. Oxforddictionaries .com

      Long time, no see: Another phrase imitative of the syntax of pidgin English, long time no see was originally meant as a humorous interpretation of a Native American greeting, used after a prolonged separation. The current earliest citation recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) comes from W.F. Drannan’s book Thirty-one Years on Plains (1901): ‘When we rode up to him [sc. an American Indian] he said: ‘Good mornin. Long time no see you’.

      I suppose that if one uses a word or phrase from French or Latin, one is demeaning the French or the citizens of the Roman Empire. Caveat emptor, s’il vous plait!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 15, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Reminds me of a cartoon of someone berating Caesar by saying, “Salad! that’s all you’re going to be remembered as!”

        Of course the line, “my salad days” always made me laugh in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

  4. Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The termites’ tummies are rumbling

  5. Paul Davies
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    This is seems like madness but I guess “long time no see” could cause genuine offence to some people – especially if preceded by a loud “Hilloo dair!” with jazz hands.

  6. Adam M.
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I think the evidence that it comes from Mandarin Chinese (or a Native American’s broken English as Oxford Dictionaries implies), is extremely weak.

    It reminds me of the patterns I would perceive when I was learning a foreign language that seemed to make sense given a small sample of words, but which turned out to just be coincidences upon examining more words.

    It also reminds me of people who assume a white person with big hair must be emulating an afro and thus racist, because they’re ignorant of the many ways hair has been worn in the decades before they were born – in the very lifetimes of the adults that they’re self-righteously “calling out”…

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I never even thought about this phrase. I wonder if “chop chop” is bad too. I have no idea where that comes from. Or my favourite, “heads down, bums up!”.

    • Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always assumed that “heads down, bums up!” was Australian as it captures both their irreverent sense of humor and their “down under” geography.

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The pidgin English song “Happy Talk” was omitted from the 2001 HBO remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein “South Pacific” on the grounds that it was racist.

    But there are ways of staging it that rescue it quite well as noted in this New York Times editorial

    “I left the theater thinking that it was wrong to assume that dead white men had nothing useful to say about race. Cringe if you want to at the stereotypes and Orientalism, but the team that gave 1950s America several primers on Asia and the Pacific doesn’t have a lot to apologize for. ”

    Here’s a marvelous modern rendition of it.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:29 am | Permalink

      ‘Émile: I have eight daughters, with four women.
      Nellie: That’s interesting.
      Émile: One woman was Polynesian.
      Nellie: One was WHAT?’

      Well, golly gosh, just suppose one of them had been Melanesian. 😦 Melanesians are way, way blacker than Polynesians. And given that ‘South Pacific’ was set in Melanesia – the Solomons or Vanuatu, probably – not what I’d call the ‘South Pacific’ at all, that title has always confused me – Emile was being quite choosy not to have hooked up with one of the local frizzy-haired Melanesians.

      But then Bloody Mary in that video doesn’t look remotely north Vietnamese to me (she looks like American black), though Liat could at a stretch look half-Viet half-Melanesian (with the Melanesian predominating). But her hand movements looked like a Tahitian or Cook Islands slow dance to me (which is not to say that it couldn’t be Melanesian, I guess).

      My main impression is that the writers or producers were a bit – confused.

      So it niggles me. I don’t care about cultural appropriation but I care a little 1about authenticity.

      (Just an aside, to check what Bloody Mary should have looked like I googled ‘Tonkinese girls’ – and got a page full of cats. So I tried ‘Tonkin people’ and got a page of Phoebe Tonkin, whoever she is.)

  9. mfdempsey1946
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Years ago I was standing near three women on a Los Angeles street corner, all of us waiting for a green light.

    The women were debating about which club or restaurant they would be going to that evening.

    Finally, one of them told the others, “Anywhere you guys want to do is OK with me.”

    Nowadays, perhaps somebody else within earshot would “hunt down” the offender and “hang [her] for [her] crimes” (per Warren Zevon). And receive a medal for doing so from others similarly inclined

    • BJ
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Seriously. Everybody but those looking to be offended accepts the phrase “you guys” as meaning “all of you.” We cannot continue divorcing words and phrases from context and history just to find new things to be offended about.

      I and, as far as I can tell, everyone I’ve ever known has used that phrase, and nobody has ever even thought to consider it offensive. Nor “mankind,” nor “freshman,” etc.

      • Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        When I first heard “guys” from a group of gals, I felt a brief pang of outrage at their appropriation of what was clearly a men’s word. I’m over it now. LOL

        • BJ
          Posted November 14, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          You might think you’re over it, but you’re just repressing your trauma. You need to see a counselor immediately. Your mental health depends on it.

    • russellblackford
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      One of my female staff, back in the day when I was running a small organisation, did complain to me about my use of “guys” to address the group collectively in team meanings. “Okay, guys, we need to do such and such this week…” or whatever. Even if I thought it was silly, there was no point in offending my own staff whom I relied on to get stuff done for me, so I immediately stopped saying it. This was over 20 years ago, so it’s a longstanding issue for some people, not something new.

      That said, I do think “guys” is now pretty much generic as an informal way to talk to a group (and was even then in the mid-1990s), and I do hear many women address each other, or mixed-sex groups, in that way. So, on balance I think it’s fine, but in the unlikely event that I ever again found myself in a managerial position I’d probably still personally avoid using it in a work setting.

  10. Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I believe that “you guys” is well on its way to having no gender. I hear groups of women use it to refer to themselves all the time. Hardly anyone says “gals” any more. Right, gals?

    • Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      If we can all agree that “guys” has no gender, then we remove the burden of having to determine the sex mixture of the group entirely. We can avoid the difficult “guys and gals” or “people” for mixed groups. We’ll have to ignore the gender pronoun aficionados but I’m happy to do that.

      • JezGrove
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        What do SJW Spanish speakers do? If there’s one “guy” amongst one hundred “gals” the convention is that they should say “amigos” instead of “amigas”? Of course, “guys and gals” is so binary…!

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          The “X” factor seems to have taken over Spanish language gender designations, at least with the SJWs here in the states, so we have “Latinx”. Would it be then “amigx” or something like that? How far will this insanity go?

          And this Latinx, at least as I’ve heard it from native and non-native speakers alike, is pronounced as “Latin ex,” not with the stress on the “i” as if it were Latíno and Latína, so to me, Latin x sounds very strange, i.e., it doesn’t sound Latin — it ain’t culturally correct to me.

          Somehow, I doubt that this will catch on in the greater Spanish speaking world.

          • BJ
            Posted November 14, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            I had just assumed it was pronounced “la-TEEN-ex,” since that would obviously make the most sense. Then again, I’m 99% sure that the people who came up with it and spread it were probably a bunch of people who don’t speak español.

            • XCellKen
              Posted November 14, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

              That is an ageist comment

      • Filippo
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        How about, “Hey, you gynecologists!”?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      I think “you guys” is pretty close to generic; I’ve overheard women use it to refer to other women in the aggregate.

      The only equivalent I can think of is “guys and gals.” Now, “gals” sounds kinda old-fashioned to me, like something people from my parents’ generation might’ve said. I will write “gals” or “gal” on rare occasion, in instances where I’m referring to women or a particular woman, and would use “guys” or “guy” were I referring to men or a man — or, more often, in the conjunctive phrase “guys and gals” (particularly since the alternative, “guys and girls,” does seem sexist to me). But I rarely actually say “gal” out loud because it sounds corny to my ear.

      Come to think of it, most of the time when I write it, it’s because I’m aiming for a bit of a corny or old-fashioned sound.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        I say “you guys” all the time to refer to all genders. I am also trying to get “yous” brought into the mainstream English vernacular.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          “I am also trying to get “yous” brought into the mainstream”

          In that case, yous guys should move to Brooklyn.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            Yes but it’s considered proletariat in Brooklyn. I’m trying to get it to cross all classes.

        • Rita
          Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          “Yous” is only acceptable if you live in Chicago.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            In Pittsburghese, “yins” (or “yuns”) is the accepted second-person plural.

            • freiner
              Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

              You beat me too it as I was typing.

            • Filippo
              Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

              In the Appalachian South, it is “you’uns.”

              (A Pennsylvania native told me that some refer to certain parts of the state as “Pennsyltucky.” I.e., a hybrid with Kentucky.)

              Also, I heard a restaurant hostess once say in my East Tennessee hometown, “Git your’unes waters ready.” (Sounds exactly like, “urines-is.”) In other words, everyone fill your glasses with water and ice for the “rush” soon to come.

            • Bob
              Posted November 15, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

              Also in the Youngstown of my youth.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted November 15, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

                Practically western Pa, anyway. 🙂

          • freiner
            Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            What are yinz talking about?

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

              Whaddayou, some kinda jagoff? 🙂

        • Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          I have been pushing “y’all”, and I think I am making some headway.

        • Vaal
          Posted November 14, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          I find I hear “you guys” used all the time by women (my sister, her friends,s my wife and friends, female co-workers, examples from tv shows…). And used, as Diana says, for all genders.

          I’d say I hear it at least as often from women as from men.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Yes, ‘guys’ has long since become gender-neutral, even for groups entirely composed of girls. (And ‘girl’ has long since come to include adult women i.e. it’s become age-neutral. That may be British usage, I can’t speak for American).


    • Davide Spinello
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      NONONO! The simpler explanation is that they have internalized the misogyny imposed by the patriarchy that permeates the west.

      • Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Your are certainly correct! Last time I internalized some misogyny I was sick for a week.

        • Richard
          Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          Well, it is toxic.

  11. Bruce Thiel
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    A retired professor friend here at Portland State University told me she was sent to sensitivity training for inadvertently using the phrase “Okie dokie.” This was probably 10+ years ago.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Oh my. I think if that happened to me, I’d resign out of annoyance. I understand why a professor wouldn’t though.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Was she teaching Grapes of Wrath in an American Lit class?

      • Doug
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Is it better or worse if you add “Artichokey” to the end?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          Worse, I’m guessing, since the California Central Coast where so many Oklahoma migrant farmers wound up during the Dust Bowl –Steinbeck country — is home to the Artichoke Center of the World. 🙂

    • Filippo
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      What is the bloody problem with “Okie-Dokie”? That has been my best conceivable sunny, chipper, optimistic reply to some chip-on-the-shoulder yahoo nimrod Philistine whom I’ve tried to placate, for the sake of keeping the bloody peace, during family and other get-togethers during the holiday season.

  12. JezGrove
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    “[F]rom her Linked In profile, which has mysteriously disappeared”? Long time no see, hopefully?

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    If anyone has a problem with “long time, no see” it oughta be the blind, shouldn’t it?

    • mordacious1
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Vision challenged, I think you mean.

      • qp83
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t realize until adult age that being blind doesn’t neccessarily mean you can’t see anything at all. Now I know that being “blind” is on a spectrum and you can actually see blurry shapes and colors and still be considered blind.

        So I think visually impaired is a better word and a more informative and less ambigious term.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 15, 2018 at 1:11 am | Permalink

          Unless, of course, you actually do mean blind.

          This is (yet another?) case where the technical usage and the common usage diverge.


          • Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:19 am | Permalink

            Many say “legally blind” when they want to say that they don’t see well enough to drive but still have partial vision. As usual, meaning depends on context.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:41 am | Permalink

              Agreed that it’s all in the context.


    • BJ
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      When I read the headline, I tried to think of ways the phrase could be offensive before continuing. That was the only one I could muster. The real reason ended up being far more foolish.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    That’s cultural appropriation from those who require corrective lenses.

  15. Barney
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never heard ‘freshman’ used in the UK; ‘fresher’ is ubitiquous, and the OED dates it back to 1882. I suspect it’s an example of the Oxford ‘-er’, and wasn’t designed to be gender neutral at all, but works well, without resorting to the boring ‘first-year’. It seems a good solution for the USA.

    My (female) Canadian cousins were using “you guys” to mean girls as well as boys back in the late 70s.

    And of course ‘dorm’ means somewhere you sleep. Not that I can see there’s anything exclusive or inclusive about it; it’s just the meaning, and derivation.

    “Long time no see” seems fine to me; I’ve never heard any accent put on for it, or any implication about anyone it’s said by or to, and this is the first time I’ve heard about the derivation from Mandarin.

    • Filippo
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      In my (sorry) freshman year at college, my residence hall (dorm) should have been named after Puccini’s tenor aria in “Turandot,” “Nessun Dorma.” Which is to say, no one could count on getting a good night’s sleep there, what with all the late adolescence wild-child Philistine caterwauling and ululating that took place at all hours.

      I think that residence hall cloistered quietude and tranquility, and proximity to class (in addition to knowing why one is attending college in the first place), ought to be top priorities in determining what college one should attend. That’s what I would seriously look at were I to do it over. A pox on all this campus noise! Not all Ivy League Ph.D.’s can find a position or tenure in the Ivy League. Seems one take the influence of ones “Har-vard-ness” to any university across “the fruited plain.”

    • Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I’ve never seen it either, and it was one of the famous sayings I’ve heard since childhood and always wondered where it was from.

      I had always assumed some character in some 1960s-early 1980s character had used it in a movie or TV show I’d never seen.

  16. Jenny Hoffman
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Oh no, I have to change my last name!?!

    • BJ
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Jenny Hoffperson. All privileged people need to make sacrifices.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 15, 2018 at 1:06 am | Permalink

        I remember decades ago, when the ‘person’ thing first reared its ugly head, a British car mag referring to the founder of Lotus as ‘Colin Personperson’.

        (*Chapman, for the automotively non-literate 😉

        • Conelrad
          Posted November 15, 2018 at 4:33 am | Permalink

          Shouldn’t that be ‘perchild’?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 15, 2018 at 4:51 am | Permalink

            Ohmigods, you’re right. ‘Person’ includes a sneaky reference to the male gender.

            The influence of surreptitious maleness is pervasive. It’s a minefield.


        • BJ
          Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          Excellent 😀 But you should have used Graham Chapman. Graham Chapman is best Chapman.

      • Chukar
        Posted November 15, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        She’ll have to change it to purwoman. Assuming “Jenny” is female. I suppose it’s sexist to assume that, just as it’s sexist to assume a William or Jonathan is a male.

        So…when does the first “gender-neutral, all-inclusive” book of baby names appear? We could name babies after minerals which are non-living, non-sexed objects.

        “Hi Rocky!”
        “Hi Saltpeter! Long time no see.”

  17. Bernie
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take offense with “A countless amount of words and phrases”. 🙂

    Why not just “Countless words and phrases”?

    • philfinn7
      Posted November 15, 2018 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      And surely ‘number’ not ‘amount’.

  18. Posted November 14, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    The phrase

    “That’s mighty white of you”

    is no longer acceptable to say as a thank you to someone who has done you a nice favor or given you a complement.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 14, 2018 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Now, that one’s a bit hard to defend on race-neutral grounds, OG, gotta say.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:37 am | Permalink

        I concur. I always thought that was a stupid phrase anyway. Sort of invites a cynical reflection on what being ‘white’ means. ‘Stuck up, bigoted, privileged, racially superior snob’ is what immediately comes to mind in the context of anyone who would use that as a term of approbation.

        I hasten to add that I don’t think all white people are like that.


        • Ken Kukec
          Posted November 15, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          Mighty white of you to add that last paragraph, ii. 🙂

  19. A C Harper
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    “But just to be sure that Ms. Al-Saloom isn’t Chinese and has a Middle Eastern name, here’s her photo from her Linked In profile, which has mysteriously disappeared:”

    That’s the problem with celebrity – it makes everything about you ‘visible’. Disappearing tweets, memberships and posts is far more difficult than the Ministry of Truth would have you believe.

    The Epicureans had a motto which translates as “Live Unknown!”. Perhaps they were on to something?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 15, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      It’s cool mottoes like “live unknown” that made the Epicureans famous. 🙂

      • Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        The problem with doing as Epicurus recommended here is that then the people who run things can just screw you over without consulting you. Political activity at least gives one a chance at getting justice. (Even if small.)

  20. Chukar
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Those who worry overmuch about microaggressions may become nonplussed when they eventually encounter a macro-aggression.

  21. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    That is funny, I could guess that it was Mandarin! As coincidence would have it I read this the other day:

    “When a language seems especially telegraphic, usually another factor has come into play: Enough adults learned it at a certain stage in its history that, given the difficulty of learning a new language after childhood, it became a kind of stripped-down “schoolroom” version of itself.”

    “By contrast, only a few languages have been taken up as vehicles of empire and imposed on millions of unsuspecting and underqualified adults. Long-dominant Mandarin, then, is less “busy” than Cantonese and Taiwanese, which have been imposed on fewer people. English came out the way it did because Vikings, who in the first millennium forged something of an empire of their own in northern and western Europe, imposed themselves on the Old English of the people they invaded and, as it were, mowed it. German, meanwhile, stayed “normal.””

  22. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted November 26, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    If I were Australian, I would call Zahra a cunt but since I’m not, I can’t without being guilty of cultural appropriation of that quintessentially Australian term of endearment. 🙂

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