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Old 01-11-2020, 04:08 PM
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Is referring to two people with the same name as Big XXX and Little XXX non-PC?


Watching Dirty Jobs and it brought to memories of Black Elmo and Regular Elmo from All In the Family because Mike sometimes refers to himself as Big Mike. Well, you can't say Black Elmo anymore, but what about Big Elmo and Little Elmo or more questionable, Older Elmo and Younger Elmo? I'm sure there are some who'll scream, "Yes, it's non-PC!", but what are alternatives? Elmo 1 and Elmo 2? Elmo and the other Elmo? Or is that too discriminatory too? Are we left with just Elmo and have to guess which one we're referring to?

Last edited by lingyi; 01-11-2020 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:10 PM
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IMHO it's totally up to the Elmos. Refer to them however you want, as long as they're okay with it.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:35 PM
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IMHO it's totally up to the Elmos. Refer to them however you want, as long as they're okay with it.
So I can call them Black Elmo and White Elmo as long as they're okay with it?

Thinking about it, back when I worked for the City & County in the '90's, the two messengers were both named Mike. One was tall and heavyset, the other was much smaller. Everyone called them Japanee or Portagee (Portuguese) Mike and Filipino Mike! Call me racist, but those were much simpler and fun times!
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:38 PM
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As a kid of the 80s, I went to school with a million Jasons, Allisons, Sarahs, and Mikes. They were always distinguished by last name initial. Allison B. versus Allison S.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:14 PM
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Ask Beckdawrek about the assorted wreks in her life.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:30 AM
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Ask Beckdawrek about the assorted wreks in her life.
Very funny there!

Come on down to Dumptruck, Ark. I'll take you to a diner ran by Big Wanda. The chief cook and bottle washer is Lil'Wanda. Who is neither smaller than Big Wanda or a female. I'm embarassed for them. But dang those bisquits and gravy are good! ()

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 01-12-2020 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 01-12-2020, 02:18 AM
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Thanks for the thread move. I always think anything I have to post IS MPSIMS.

I agree with your comment, but as I posted this thread: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...=887882&page=2, the overly sensitive crazies who'll report or call you out, too often rule the roost or are the hen house owners.
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Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
Just an example of what extreme some people may say in a misguided (IMHO) attempt at PC. Once, I worked with a guy whose self proclaimed nickname was Gush (rhymes with whoosh), short for his surname Gushiken. I made a joke that I would start calling him Chawan gushi (a take on Chawan mushi, Japanese egg custard). My manager and a salesrep who just came back from harassment training said that would be considered harassment.

BTW, is there a Big Nemo and Littler Nemo?
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I wonder how long before someone insists Tiny Tim be referred to Less Than Average Sized (Whatever That Means) Tim and The Special Olympics to Not The Official Olympics For Those Who Are Intellectually Challenged?

For those how don't get it, IT'S A SARCASTIC JOKE FOLKS!
What is wrong with you?
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:17 PM
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I'm sure Kayaker will be here shortly, I know he just told that story a few days ago...


Anyways, I can't see what the issue could possibly be with big/little Elmo unless one or both of them either don't like it or it's done in a derogatory way. I've been getting called 'little joe' all my life because my dad is also joe and that's just the way some people have randomly decided to tell us apart, especially since we work together. I've never told anyone to use that term (I normally tell them to ask for Joey, as opposed to Joe), but people regularly stop in or call and ask for Little Joe or Big Joe.
Never given it any thought and, at least for me, it's no more offensive than someone calling me Joe Jr (not a jr, but it still works to tell us apart).
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:38 PM
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I have two roommates named Steve and we call them Big Stevie and Little Stevie. It was their idea, though, so naturally they're fine with it.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:55 PM
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It is the same idea as calling one Junior and the other Senior. People have to tell them apart so it is just convention. I know doting mothers that refer to their husbands and sons that way so I don't think it is inherently offensive unless someone makes it so. That convention is way more common for males than females but it is long established. It has little to do with body size or social status.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:01 PM
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In my opinion it has nothing to do with PC and all about how the individuals involved feel.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:15 PM
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Moderating: moved to IMHO


In my opinion it has nothing to do with PC and all about how the individuals involved feel.
Thanks for the thread move. I always think anything I have to post IS MPSIMS.

I agree with your comment, but as I posted this thread: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...=887882&page=2, the overly sensitive crazies who'll report or call you out, too often rule the roost or are the hen house owners.

Last edited by lingyi; 01-11-2020 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:16 PM
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Thanks for the thread move. I always think anything I have to post IS MPSIMS.

I agree with your comment, but as I posted this thread: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...=887882&page=2, the overly sensitive crazies who'll report or call you out, too often rule the roost or are the hen house owners.
You seem so certain of this, but I can’t for the life of me figure out where you got such a stupid idea.
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:57 PM
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I have two roommates named Steve and we call them Big Stevie and Little Stevie. It was their idea, though, so naturally they're fine with it.
I actually knew a "Big Steve". He got the nickname at work where there was a "little Steve" as well. In a humorous note, "Little Steve" was six foot, four inches. (Big Steve was six ft., seven.)

I also once knew a "Harry Chin".

But to the OP's question. If they're cool with it..............
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:04 PM
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Had a brother-in-law named Pete. He had a son named Pete.

So most folks called brother-in-law Pete, and his son "Repete" (pronounced repeat). Some others also referred to them as Big Pete and Little Pete.

My boss is called Scott and his son is named Scott as well. Sometimes we called them Scott and Scotty, or Scott and Scott Jr. The son now has a son and his name is Scott. So it's Scott, Scott Jr., and Little Scott.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:08 PM
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Heh. I used to be part of a community that included two women named Lucy. We referred to them as Crazy Lucy and Nearly Normal Lucy.

Nearly Normal knew what the nicknames were. Crazy Lucy was not informed.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:18 PM
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Heh. I used to be part of a community that included two women named Lucy. We referred to them as Crazy Lucy and Nearly Normal Lucy.

Nearly Normal knew what the nicknames were. Crazy Lucy was not informed.
Hey, you worked with Crazy Lucy too? I worked with her, except she was named Amy and she was the only Amy in the company!
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:30 PM
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I used to frequent a bar with a couple of friends, and was bar buddies with 2 Robs, one white and the other African-American. The thing is, the white Rob was a heavy metal fan who used to always wear a long black leather jacket, so we started calling him Black Rob. At the time, there was also a popular rapper with the same name, so the nickname was meant to be somewhat ironic. One evening, the African-American Rob walked in wearing an all-white suit, so went on to be known as White Rob. Neither took any offense, and even referred to each other by their given nicknames.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:41 PM
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I once had two friends named Dennis. Everyone called them Big Dennis and Little Dennis. They were fine with it.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:04 PM
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Johnny Fever: Why do they call the Rev Pembroke "Little Ed"?

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Old 01-13-2020, 07:40 AM
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Johnny Fever: Why do they call the Rev Pembroke "Little Ed"?
So Cecil has yet another alias? And a reverend too boot. I thought he was a Catholic.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:11 PM
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I'm white, and until recently I had a black co-worker with the same first name and last intial. Since she started there first, she got to be "firstname," while people called me by my last name. She eventually moved on to another job, but people still call me by my last name out of habit. I don't really mind. I would feel weird about being called "white firstname." "Big firstname" probably wouldn't go over well with most women, either.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:24 PM
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In my family its almost required. We have Jrs, III and IVs and for the most part we HATE Jr, the third, the fourth. The exception being Tom, Tom Jr, Tom III and Tom IV who are T1-T4 respectively. The older of any name, say Denga for example, under a roof is "Big Denga" and the younger "Little Denga". Any other name and you will get the family version of "the look".
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:54 PM
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Yeah, like any nickname, if the parties involved are fine with it and it's not gratuitously offensive to a third party (as in, I wouldn't call my Chinese colleague "Chink Wei" even if she liked it, because slur), then it's nobody else's business.

But I wouldn't recommend spontaneously calling someone "Big [name]" or "Little [name]" unless you know for sure they're fine with it. It's an unsolicited personal comment on appearance, and you can always get a rudeness ticket for that.
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:52 PM
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A friend of mine tells the story that, as a youth, he had an Uncle Dick and a Cousin Dick, who were known as big Dick and little Dick. He swears this is truth.


mmm
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:15 PM
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A friend of mine tells the story that, as a youth, he had an Uncle Dick and a Cousin Dick, who were known as big Dick and little Dick. He swears this is truth.


mmm
A very proper auntie, noticing the quantities of Richards at a family gathering, remarked with a straight face, "There sure are a lot of Dicks here."

I don't recall situations where I encountered similarly-named folks distinguished by adjectives. However teachers at one small technical school included a white Mr Black and a black Mr White. Both were commonly addressed as "SIR!"
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:51 PM
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A friend of mine tells the story that, as a youth, he had an Uncle Dick and a Cousin Dick, who were known as big Dick and little Dick. He swears this is truth.
I knew a guy whose name was Dick Head.

Here's a tip to people whose last name is Head; if you have a child, don't name him Richard. Your attempts to call him Rich or Rick will fail.
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:17 PM
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I knew a guy whose name was Dick Head.

Here's a tip to people whose last name is Head; if you have a child, don't name him Richard. Your attempts to call him Rich or Rick will fail.
I knew a Richard Head growing up. He avoided most of that as he happened to be home schooled. He was also a rather nice guy, so as adults no one really had a reason to call him a Dick.

Though I do agree parents should consider if their kids' name can be made into a low-effort shitty nickname. On the other hand, my name sounds a lot like a negative English word (just one consonant difference), but no one ever called me that growing up.
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:58 PM
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I knew a guy whose name was Dick Head.
I once met a guy named Dick Pounder.

And then there was a woman named Astrida Penis (pronounced exactly like Astride a Penis).
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:46 PM
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I knew a guy whose name was Dick Head.
I knew a fellow named Terry Hurd. His obvious nickname was Hairy Turd. BAD parents!
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:52 PM
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Larry didn't need any nicknames to keep his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl straight.
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:55 PM
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My grandfather, my father, and I. Three generations of Kent Clark.

When I was young my grandfather was Mr. Clark, my father was Big Kent, and I was Little Kent. Or sometimes Kent Jr., Kent the Third, Young Kent, Master Kent, or Kenny.

After my grandfather died and there were just my father and me, I wanted to be Kent Jr. to my father's Kent Sr. My father rather liked being called Big Kent, though, so we ended up with Big Kent and Young Kent.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 01-11-2020 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:47 PM
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I'm sure there are some who'll scream, "Yes, it's non-PC!", but what are alternatives?
Why are you so sure of this? Have you ever been told by anyone that you should call somebody by a nickname like Big Elmo or Little Elmo?
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:28 PM
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Why are you so sure of this? Have you ever been told by anyone that you should call somebody by a nickname like Big Elmo or Little Elmo?
Just an example of what extreme some people may say in a misguided (IMHO) attempt at PC. Once, I worked with a guy whose self proclaimed nickname was Gush (rhymes with whoosh), short for his surname Gushiken. I made a joke that I would start calling him Chawan gushi (a take on Chawan mushi, Japanese egg custard). My manager and a salesrep who just came back from harassment training said that would be considered harassment.

BTW, is there a Big Nemo and Littler Nemo?

Last edited by lingyi; 01-11-2020 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:24 AM
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Just an example of what extreme some people may say in a misguided (IMHO) attempt at PC.
No, it isn't an example. An example is something that happened.

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BTW, is there a Big Nemo and Littler Nemo?
I'm the only Nemo on the board. So, by definition, I'm the Little Nemo, the Big Nemo, and all the Nemos in between.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 01-12-2020 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:11 AM
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Once, I worked with a guy whose self proclaimed nickname was Gush (rhymes with whoosh), short for his surname Gushiken. I made a joke that I would start calling him Chawan gushi (a take on Chawan mushi, Japanese egg custard). My manager and a salesrep who just came back from harassment training said that would be considered harassment.
Why the ? Obviously, if you're mockingly referring to a Japanese co-worker by the name of a Japanese food, that is harassment. Same thing if you tease a Mexican co-worker by calling him "Fajitas" or a German co-worker "Sauerkraut", etc.

Now, if you and your Japanese co-worker both happen to like your calling him "egg custard" as a pun on his Japanese name in private conversation, fine, that's nobody's business but your own. But you shouldn't do it in the presence of other people, because it absolutely does carry unsavory connotations of mocking people of different ethnicity for their "funny" names, and that can land you in "creating hostile work environment" territory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallard
If there are two known as “Elmo” in the group and one is white, the other is black, what’s wrong with “white Elmo” and “black Elmo”?
Again, if this is a private social situation and everybody involved is fine with it, there's nothing at all wrong with using racial designations as nicknames. But it's not advisable to try it in other circumstances, because it seems to place such a gratuitous emphasis on racial categories.

I mean, are people in this group so fixated on race that they haven't noticed that the two Elmos have different surnames, for example? Surnames are a pretty tried and tested tool for distinguishing between two individuals with identical given names. Hell, that's what surnames were invented for in the first place.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:32 AM
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This reminds me of a friend's uncles - non-identical twins distinguished by blonde hair and brunette hair. They were known, throughout their lives, as Fairy and Darky. Innocent times, obviously.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:11 AM
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Why the ? Obviously, if you're mockingly referring to a Japanese co-worker by the name of a Japanese food, that is harassment. Same thing if you tease a Mexican co-worker by calling him "Fajitas" or a German co-worker "Sauerkraut", etc.

Now, if you and your Japanese co-worker both happen to like your calling him "egg custard" as a pun on his Japanese name in private conversation, fine, that's nobody's business but your own. But you shouldn't do it in the presence of other people, because it absolutely does carry unsavory connotations of mocking people of different ethnicity for their "funny" names, and that can land you in "creating hostile work environment" territory.
Ummm...I'm Okinawan/Japanese. I worked with a Chinese/White guy who called me Teriyaki openly at our workplace and nobody blinked an eye. And a Puerto Rican co-worker called he Higa because that's a common Okinawan name (though not my surname).
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:31 PM
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Ummm...I'm Okinawan/Japanese. I worked with a Chinese/White guy who called me Teriyaki openly at our workplace and nobody blinked an eye. And a Puerto Rican co-worker called he Higa because that's a common Okinawan name (though not my surname).
Intentionally obtuse, or just born that way?
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:41 PM
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I wonder how long before someone insists Tiny Tim be referred to Less Than Average Sized (Whatever That Means) Tim and The Special Olympics to Not The Official Olympics For Those Who Are Intellectually Challenged?

For those how don't get it, IT'S A SARCASTIC JOKE FOLKS!
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:42 PM
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Watching Dirty Jobs and it brought to memories of Black Elmo and Regular Elmo from All In the Family because Mike sometimes refers to himself as Big Mike. Well, you can't say Black Elmo anymore, but what about Big Elmo and Little Elmo or more questionable, Older Elmo and Younger Elmo? I'm sure there are some who'll scream, "Yes, it's non-PC!", but what are alternatives? Elmo 1 and Elmo 2? Elmo and the other Elmo? Or is that too discriminatory too? Are we left with just Elmo and have to guess which one we're referring to?
If there are two known as “Elmo” in the group and one is white, the other is black, what’s wrong with “white Elmo” and “black Elmo”?
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:51 PM
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Bob's Burgers has Regular-sized Rudy, to distinguish him from Pocket-sized Rudy.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:05 PM
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Bob's Burgers has Regular-sized Rudy, to distinguish him from Pocket-sized Rudy.
Terry Pratchett has "Medium" Dave Lilywhite, to distinguish him from all the other Dave Lilywhites.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:43 PM
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Terry Pratchett has "Medium" Dave Lilywhite, to distinguish him from all the other Dave Lilywhites.
He must really like that joke, considering this is the author who also had No'-As-Big-As-Medium-Jock-But-Bigger-Than-Wee-Jock Jock.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:42 AM
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Watching
but what are alternatives? Elmo 1 and Elmo 2? Elmo and the other Elmo? Or is that too discriminatory too? Are we left with just Elmo and have to guess which one we're referring to?
I have a very common first name. At school, me and my two best friends, who also had the same first name, were all called by our last names.

But later on, when I was sharing a house with another with the same first name, we were Young Elmo and Big Elmo. Because those names were sufficiently descriptive, and his little brother didn't think we would appreciate being called "Old Elmo" or "Small Elmo"
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:44 AM
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Interesting thought. Big and Little aren't necessarily derogatory; some of the others (eg. Japanese Mike and Filipino Mike) might be consider offensive if not derogatory - I mean, presumably one was indeed Filipino and the other was Japanese (or Portuguese). And it would depend on the context also. "Here, take this over to Mike". "Which one?" "Oh, the Filipino one".

Probably safest all around to include their last name / initial: "Take this to Mike". "Mike Jones". "Yes, he's the Filipino. Mike Jones".

Of course, our daughter was named after a family friend (now deceased) so my spouse and I would, when referring to the family friend in conversation with immediate family, clarify "Big Moon Unit" vs "Little Moon Unit".

I think "Big Moon Unit" would probably have been confused to hear the reference. "Filipino Mike" would either have not cared, or been mildly annoyed. "Big Elmo" might have been amused but "Little Elmo" not so much.

All in all, I think it's probably best to avoid such nicknames except in a group of close friends.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:22 PM
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I'm considerably shorter than average, and have been my whole life. Probably because when I was picked on my height was often a target used, I do not like being referred to as Little Echo, or the ironic Big Echo. Both have happened, and it is too close to slurs used against me as a child. If I were of average size, I don't think I would care.

It is usually obvious when the person using "Little Echo" has just picked a convenient nickname I don't care for, as opposed to when somebody is actually bullying. Fortunately I can't think of any examples of bullying since childhood. If I wasn't unusually short, I expect the bullies would have just had to find a less obvious derogatory nickname.

I could see the same thing for somebody of unusually large size, who was picked on about that.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:12 PM
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I went thru my entire youth as "Little Albert". Guess what my dad was called?
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:50 PM
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My name isn't too common, but went through a burst of popularity in ~1989. So now there are several "K"s at my company, when before I was the only one. It's amusing when we talk to each other, just for the novelty, but others really don't hand out nicknames wisely. There's another "K" who is an operator in a unit I deal with; to that unit I'm "Smart K" and he's... "Other K". Which probably falls afoul of the corporate hostile workplace policy. Potentially getting fired seems like a high risk to assume for what is at best a minimally clever joke.
  #50  
Old 01-13-2020, 04:01 PM
Acsenray is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,647
Whether it's "PC" is the wrong question. Who said that "PC" is a standard to live by?

The question is whether it is demeaning or insulting or negative in some other way to an individual or a group to do so.
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*I'm experimenting with E, em, and es and emself as pronouns that do not indicate any specific gender nor exclude any specific gender.
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