Fifth Column

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Oct 28 13:45:19 UTC 2002

In a message dated 10/23/02 1:28:42 AM Eastern Standard Time,
t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU writes:

> Believe it or not, there are lots of people
>  (including stacks of today's undergrads) who not only don't remember
>  Howard Cossell but draw blanks on "thriller in Manila" or "Cassius Clay"
>  . . . or, for that matter, such Viet Nam War catchphrases as "light at
>  the end
>  of the tunnel" or even "make love, not war".  "I like Ike" or "when
>  Harry dropped the bomb" are blanks for any but some pretty old codgers,

Is "Fifth Column" another such phrase which can be considered to have dropped
out of the language (in this case, all European languages) to appear
forevermore only in Fred Shapiro quotation books?

(Unless someone decides to revive Hemingway's stage play of that name.)

I ask this because a friend of mine is writing the sequel to a 1964 novel in
which the phrase "Fifth Column" was freely used, and his sequel requires
strict adherence to 1964 language.  Yet would his readers recognize the

     - Jim Landau

P.S.  Come to think of it, today's college students must be pretty shaky on
what the "Iron Curtain" was.

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