Lite query

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sat Sep 14 18:04:09 UTC 2002

    This is from memory. In 1988 George Bush Sr. selected Dan Quayle
as his vice-presidential running mate. When the announcement was
made, Quayle bounded up to the microphone and addressed the assembled
crowd with an excess of exuberance somewhat unbecoming a potential
leader of the free world.

    The next day the Wall Street Journal's lead story reported on the
selection and public reaction to it. One person quoted said that
Quayle looked like a cross between Robert Redford and Daffy Duck.
Another described the Republican ticket as "Bush-Lite."

    Are there earlier uses of "Lite" outside a beer context to
indicate something unsubstantial? If not, "Bush-Lite" would be a
plausible beginning to this usage.

Gerald Cohen

>I'm new to this list. I also feel compelled to
confess that I'm a journalist.


>Date:         Fri, 13 Sep 2002 14:40:14 -0700
>From: "R. Walker" <chumptastic at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject:      Lite query
>  I'm new to this list. I also feel compelled to
>confess that I'm a journalist.
>I'm looking into the history of the word lite -- or
>actually I'm looking into a particular moment in its
>I gather that lite has existed for many, many years as
>a signifier of "low calorie" or similar. I guess the
>most famous (not the first) example of this would be
>Lite Beer from Miller, which actually uses Lite as its
>the most prominent part of its brand name. (I also
>understand that the word has a history in
>spelling-simplification circles.)
>What I'm curious about is when and how "lite" made the
>transion to the slangy suggestion of something
>insubstantial -- diplomacy lite, philosophy lite,
>journalism lite, etc.
>I feel that someone, somewhere, must know all the lite
>stuff. But who, where? Well, that's why I'm bothering
>you all.
>Thanks. rw

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