"Mickey Mouse"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Dec 5 23:47:54 UTC 2001

In a message dated 12/05/2001 4:31:03 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Mark.Mandel at LHSL.COM writes:

> Does anyone know how the phrase "Mickey Mouse" came to describe "a person
>  or organization with a lot of poorly-justified, nit-picking rules"? IMHO
>  the cartoon character isn't like that and never has been.

I am told it is US Army slang from World War II.  Unfortunately the book I
think I'm quoting from is AWOL from my library.

I think the definition you give better fits the word "chickenshit".  A
"Mickey Mouse outfit"  is an organization that is too small (physically
mentally or morally) to do the job it's supposed to, but doen not necessarily
connote nit-picking bureaucracy the way "chicken-shit does".

       - Jim Landau

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