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Subject:Re: Pet Peeves From:Mary Arrotti <mary_arrotti -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:amyg -at- grammatech -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Tue, 13 Mar 2007 08:48:11 -0700 (PDT)
Amy's understanding of the origin of "rule of thumb" is the same as mine. And I've never considered "dog and pony show" to be racist or sexist. And my (quick) research confirms that. It clearly doesn't connote anything positive. But I can't see that it would be offensive to use in general conversation or emails. For example, I might use it to describe a conference that was less than promising. A while back, I even remember a company using that phase & image in advertising - something along the lines that "we're no dog & pony show." A coworker even had the poster.
I don't see how either phrase would be commonly used or very appropriate in technical documentation - there are much better choices. But when these phrases are used, I doubt the intent (or common interpretation) would be racist or sexist. I guess that's why the subject heading is pet peeves :>).
Amy Gale <amyg -at- grammatech -dot- com> wrote:
Some people believe that it originated from a law stating a man could
beat his wife with a switch no thicker than his thumb.
My (admittedly nonexhaustive) research suggests that
1) Nobody has ever found this law, and
2) The earliest textual reference to the law is dated...1976
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