Thursday, November 01, 2012


Identity Theft

Rosa Silverman, "Vivienne Westwood declares 'I am Julian Assange' as she visits WikiLeaks founder in Ecuadorean embassy," The Telegraph (October 24, 2012):
The fashion designer was wearing the T-shirt she closed her recent London Show with, bearing the words "I am Julian Assange".
Vivienne Westwood obviously is not Julian Assange; rather she supports Julian Assange. Expressions like this are my latest linguistic pet peeve.

Trayvon Martin's mother filed an application to trademark the expression "I am Trayvon." Those who wear T-shirts or hooded sweatshirts with the words "I am Trayvon" mourn his death and might want his killer boiled in oil, but they are not Trayvon.

Sometimes the first person plural is used, e.g. "We are all Palestinians now," or "We Are All Abigael Evans" (title of article by Michael Scherer, Time, Oct. 31, 2012). Speaking for myself, I am neither a Palestinian nor Abigael Evans.

These expressions remind me of the inmate in the insane asylum who insists that he is Jesus Christ, or Napoleon.

Maybe John F. Kennedy started it, with "Ich bin ein Berliner."

David Whitehead writes:
I reckon Stanley Kubrick beat JFK to that one: the much-parodied 'I am Spartacus' scene in the 1960 movie. I don't know whether the phrase occurs in Howard Fast’s novel (1951).
This is the scene in which slaves, asked to identify Spartacus, all say, "I am Spartacus."

Nathaniel Koonce recalls one of the "I am Spartacus" parodies—the "I am Brian" scene from the movie Monty Python's Life of Brian.

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