"We ARE x !"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 17 00:29:50 UTC 2011

As much as it's an intriguing idea to identify such slogans with the
Upper Appalachian Industrial Wasteland (i.e., Central and Western PA and
Eastern and Southern Ohio), we seem to be forgetting the national "We
ARE X!" battle--
"We are the 99%!" vs. "We are the 47%!"

I know, I know--it does not sound as romantic once you insert the article...


On 11/16/2011 4:04 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> News reports over the past several days have occasionally included
> Penn State students both defending and deploring legendary coach Joe
> Paterno as well as offering gestures of goodwill to the alleged
> victims of Jerry Sandusky.
> The sudents can be heard chanting or emphatically asserting as
> individuals, "We ARE Penn State!"  I'm not sure what that's supposed
> to mean beyond, "Harken to us!"
> A few years ago, "We ARE Virginia Tech!" was the refrain of an alleged
> poem by Nikki Giovanni, written in the wake of an even worse
> situation. It seemed to mean, "We of VT are strong enough to get
> through absolutely anything unfazed."
> Both of these usages seemed familiar, but how?
> In another one of those epiphanous moments, I suddenly recalled that
> 1976 film _Taxi Driver_ ("You talkin' to  me? You talkin' to *me*?
> Well, you must be talkin' to me, 'cause I'm the only one here!")
> featured a slick political candidate, target of the insane Travis
> Bickel, who was running on the slogan "We ARE the People!"   (Cf. "We
> ARE the 99%!" )
> The irony seemed to be that the slogan in the film was utterly vapid.
> It reminded me of the equally inane, but seriously intended, "Nixon's
> the One!" of 1968.
> Moral: yesterday's inanity, today's inspiration.
> JL

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