Modern Proverb: If you are not at the table, you may be on the menu.

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 12 00:12:02 UTC 2014

On Sat, Oct 11, 2014 at 7:39 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> On Oct 11, 2014, at 7:06 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>> Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>>> "If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably
>>> on the menu." - -
>>> Elizabeth Warren
>> This interesting saying is listed in Charlie and Fred's Dictionary of
>> Modern Proverbs with an initial citation in 1993. In addition, Barry
>> has an entry on the topic with a citation in 2000.
> It would seem this is from the same proverb family as Eldridge Cleaver's
> "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" and/or
> "Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem", which
> for I all know predated Eldridge Cleaver.  The theme is the excluded
> middle, with other fans from Jesus ("He who is not with me is against
> me") to Bush ("Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists")...

One currently popular variation on the theme is:

"If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the
product being sold."
--Andrew Lewis (aka blue_beetle), Metafilter, Aug. 26, 2010


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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