Proverb enlargement!

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 26 13:58:56 UTC 2010

I was reminded of the following by the "size of the boat and the motion of
the ocean."  (Not to mention the leer at the pier, the feel of the keel, the
cast of the mast, the mannin' of the cannon, the slide of the tide, the
swish of the fish, the slam of the clam, the droop of the poop, and
the likely shock at the doc. How could anyone let those go to waste?.)

For some years I've heard TV newswomen (not men) exclaim jokingly whenever
context allows, "Size matters!" and "Size does matter!"

It's become a cliche' (or a proverb, whatever).  That's my point.

Well, younguns, I guaran*******tee you that you could not have exclaimed
that on national TV, regardless of context, before (I'm guessing now) the
late '80s or early '90s.

A GB search (not easy) seems to turn up no reliable ex. of either form (with
or without "does") other than in focused industrial applications, before
ca1969.  That was about the time that the Sexual Revolution revved into high
media gear. And no outright proverbial interjections ("Size does matter!")
till 1984 - in _Ms._ magazine.

ISTR, around 1972, discussions among female college students about the rival
cliche' (possibly popularized in Alex Comfort's bestseller about doing it)
that "size doesn't matter."

Does anyone doubt that the proverb started out as a focused
counterclaim?  And that everybody knows it?  (That may not be true of robot
antiquarians of the 22nd Century. See

Most Freudianly fascinating is that "Size doesn't matter!"  has *never*
become a generally applied proverb.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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