The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 February 2004

And Mr Clean is sexist

Eric Scheie, perplexed by the flap over the Philadelphia restaurant Chink's, observes:

Increasingly, intent is completely irrelevant. All that matters is that someone felt offended. There doesn't even have to be specific use of offending words; even similar sounding words can lead to trouble. An example was the use of the word "niggardly" in the District of Columbia, which forced a mayoral aide to resign.

And, of course, no teacher dares assign Joseph Conrad's The Person of Color of the Narcissus these days.

Curious to see the extent of this sort of thing, Scheie went looking for a household product that is seldom seen these days: Spic and Span, which was spun off by Procter & Gamble in 2001 but which is still being manufactured.

Thus motivated, I investigated, and verified that the original surname of Manny, Moe and Jack, the Pep Boys, was not, as I had imagined, Pepstein.

Posted at 10:31 AM to Almost Yogurt


HEY! I LOVE Chink's! I've gone there ever since I can remember and it never dawned on me that it was derogatory name. Chink's cheesesteaks are the best! Better than Pat's, in fact.

Some people want a cause and they'll go after anything.

Posted by: Donna at 12:36 PM on 4 February 2004

I knew it! I thought the Moe and Jack characters looked related!

Posted by: McGehee at 7:02 PM on 4 February 2004

Still haven't tried Chink's steaks, but now that I've heard it's better than Pat's I'll have to!

I did meet Moe Strauss many years ago (which I guess dates me....)

Many thanks for the link!

Posted by: Eric Scheie at 8:04 PM on 6 February 2004