Ungendered "he said-she said"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 2 20:25:03 UTC 2009

At 3:07 PM -0500 12/2/09, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
>>  At 8:52 AM -0900 12/2/09, David Bowie wrote:
>>  >I heard a report on the radio this morning about last night's meeting of
>>  >the Anchorage [Alaska] Assembly (an oddly-named 11-member city council),
>>  >at which they reviewed the "Wheeler report", a report that claims that
>>  >former Anchorage mayor (now US senator) Mark Begich willfully misled the
>>  >assembly on the state of city finances before leaving office.
>>  >
>>  >One of the sound bites was from Sheila Selkregg (i think), a member of
>>  >the assembly, who called the report a "he said-she said" document.
>>  >
>>  >The interesting thing is that both sides are male--on the one is Mark
>>  >Begich, and on the other is either Dennis Wheeler (the author of the
>>  >report) or Dan Sullivan (the current mayor, who's been hypercritical of
>>  >Begich's administration and has heavily promoted the report).
>>  >
>>  >Of course, i don't know if there's further context that would go against
>>  >this interpretation, but this really sounded to me like "he said-she
>>  >said" has branched out into meaning simply "two sides [unmarked for sex]
>>  >each claim opposing things that can't be definitively proven". Has
>>  >anyone else come across this?
>>  >
>>  I have, although I don't have a specific cite for it.  Probably a
>>  google search would pull some up.  I've also heard "HE-said/HE-said"
>>  and, although less frequently, "SHE-said/SHE-said" for the same-sex
>>  disputes.
>Larry noted that both "he said / he said" and "he said / she said"
>were used on
>sports talk shows discussing Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee (the trainer who
>accused Clemens of steroid abuse) in Jan. '08:
Oh right.  Thanks--I *thought* I had a cite lying around somewhere...   ;-)


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