I tried. I spent two days slightly less than two days reading other blogs, commenting a little, and not writing in mine. I tried, but I can’t stop writing now, when so much is going on!!
For example, Sarah Palin referring to herself as a representative for Joe Six-Pack. I wonder if she means this Joe Six-Pack, a beer reporter in Philidelphia, or this one, apparently the author of a “manly” transgendered website? (Who knew? I love Google searches, he was 7 links down!)
I know, I know, she probably meant John Q. Public, a generic name used in America to denote the “common man.” Unfortunately, Ms. Palin didn’t choose to use a phrase commonly associated with a reasonable common member of society, she choose a phrase that is usually used in a derogatory manner to refer to a lesser member of the common man, such as someone who spends all their time/energy/money investing in the aforementioned six pack.
William Safire of the NY Times wrote on the birth and life of Everyman, now known as Joe Six-Pack, when Bill Clinton used the phrase in the late 90’s (not to describe himself.)
“The average Joe appeared as Joe Blow (1867), Joe Doakes (1926), Joe College (1932), G.I. Joe (1943) and, in Britain, Joe Bloggs (1969). Though Joe Zilch (1925, probably a play on zero) and Joe Schmo (1950, rhyming with hometown Kokomo) are derisive, Joe Cool (1949) gets respect.
A six-pack (which still takes a hyphen, but not for long) is a half-dozen bottles or cans, often of beer, packaged to be purchased as a unit. Beer is traditionally Everyman’s alcoholic beverage, slurped up noisily or chug-a-lugged breathlessly by those who sneer at effete elitists with ”Champagne tastes.” Hence, the affinity of the plebeian Joe with the symbol of beer purchased in quantity, the six-pack, a word coined in 1952″
Well that’s what I want in Vice presidential office, a person who numbers herself among Americans who pony up to the couch with a six pack of brew to sneer at the effete elitists in society. (Although frankly, my problem with Safire’s article is his assumption that said Six-Packers could define effete or for that matter, plebeian.)
The Urban Dictionary defines poor Joe even less kindly, calling him the “Average American moron, IQ 60, drinking beer, watching baseball and CNN, and believing everything his President says.”
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms defines Joe as “A lower-middle-class male. For example, I don’t think opera will appeal to Joe Six-pack; he’d prefer a rock concert. This disparaging term, first recorded in 1977, conjures up the image of a man in undershirt and construction helmet who will down all of a six-pack (six cans or bottles of beer sold in a package) in an evening.”
Not the best curriculum vitae for leading the country, especially if Ms. Palin expects us to spend our hard earned taxes on her beer habit.
What I want to know is this; when did our country begin to be seen as a land filled with beer swilling under achievers? I am insulted. Most Americans work damn hard, and I don’t think describing the majority of them as shiftless beer swillers is flattering. The middle class people I know are working hard, often two jobs a piece, to send their kids to school, pay their bills, get a decent house, and make their kids lives better than their were when they were growing up.
Geez Sarah, it’s bad enough the rest of the world thinks we are tools, with our deplorable foreign policy and our ineloquent President, do you have to portray us as low functioning alcoholics too?