What Minnesotans would you rank among the world’s most influential people?

Time Magazine has included Rep. Michele Bachmann on its list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Today’s Question: What Minnesotans would you rank among the world’s most influential people?

  • Mark Derby

    For many, Hubert Humphrey and for me, Eugene McCarthy, who I heard give a lecture at SMSU in Marshall in the 1980’s. Listening to him speak I was taken by his sharp wit and broad perspective. I followed up by picking up his book: “The Limits of Power: America’s Role in the World” and a speech on vinyl. It’s too bad that now days many people don’t know the difference between Eugene and Joe from Wisconsin who the term McCarthyism was coined for in 1950.

  • Lee Ann Overman

    Ann Bancroft is an amazing woman, she has been places and done things that most people don’t even think possible. She has influenced school children all over the world, by giving them a peek into to her adventures. She has a great foundation, and once a year she recognizes women in the community.

  • steve c

    Mondale, Steger and Bancroft come to mind. Big Paul Westerberg fan too.

  • Seth Pioske

    Robert Zimmerman.

  • Matt Ellis

    I nominate Minnesota’s Independence Party, which has quietly become a powerhouse in the 2012 presidential elections. Bachmann and Pawlenty? They would be unknown today if it weren’t for the Independence Party candidates that split voting blocs to deliver the otherwise unlikely victories that gave Bachmann and Pawlenty their start. They owe their political positions today to the influential Independence Party.

  • Kit Hansen

    Dr. Michael Osterholm has been a consistent, reliable, and respected source of epidemiological information of worldwide import.

    In a different arena, of course, is Bob Dylan.

  • Jim Weides

    Certainly not Michelle Bachmann

  • Jim Shapiro

    Living? Dylan nee Zimmerman. Prince. Al Franken. The Brothers Coen. Tom Friedman. And unfortunately, Loonie Bachmann.

  • steve

    i would say it would be bob dylan, walter mondale from the living-but the dead it would be hubert humphrey!

  • Michelle

    Bob Dylan!

  • Mary

    Even though she’s a fictional character, I would nominate Mary Richards. She showed young women of my generation that a single woman can live independently, have a carreer and a fulfilling life. I grew up in a small town where my options were limited to factory work or early marriage or both. Small town life is great for some, but after seeing Mary, I knew it wasn’t for me. I moved to Minneapolis after high school and I have made it after all.

  • Philip

    For good or ill: Jessie Ventura, Louie Anderson, Jessica Lang, Jessica Biel, Hubert H. Humphrey, Al Franken, Prince, Cheryl Tiegs, Winona Ryder, Peter Graves, Josh Hartnett, Judy Garland, 13 members of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, John Madden, John Longstreet (world middleweight karate champion), F. Scott Fitzgerald, Curt Carlson, Donald Dayton, Richard W. Sears, Charles Lindbergh, Will Steger, Ann Bancroft, Gretchen Carlson, Charles and William Mayo. Pretty amazing and by no means exhaustive.

  • Steve D

    I like Philips list and would like to add a list of fictional names.

    Paul Bunyan, Betty Crocker, Jolly Green Giant, and Minnehaha from the poem.

  • Joe Schaedler

    Bob Dylan and F Scott Fitzgerald, in that order

  • CF

    Jesse The Body Ventura…. just kidding.

  • bob

    The only influentials list that Michelle Bachmann should be on is The List of Polarizing Obfuscators.

    If we’re talking instead about people who are positive influences, I’d want to see Prince on the list, as well as MPR’s own Bill Kling. And Attorney General Lori Swanson.

  • Phyllis

    Bill Kling has done more for Minnesota than most politicians.

  • Pat

    Pick any teacher.

    Bachmann is an embarrassment; even my Republican out-of-state friends laugh at me for having her represent us.

  • Ann

    Paul Wellstone, Norman Borlaug (adopted MN-born in Iowa), Earl Bakken of Medtronic fame, and Dr. C.W. Lillehei of open heart surgery fame. and Harold E. Stassen and his work to bring about the United Nations.

  • Greg

    Has no one said Garrison Keillor? When I travel, he is the first one folks ask about…

  • My pick is 2010 Sally award winner for Arts accessStoller Stearns of the Historic Holmes Theatre and Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

    She’s a wonderful person who has done an incredible job bring the arts to parts of Minnesota what would not other wise get the chance to experience them.

  • Steve d

    Why not include Michele Bachmann? She meets all the standards of Time Magazine. There are two ways to get on there publicity creating list. One is to make a major contribution to the well being of the world such as Barack Obama or Mark Zuckerberg or Jonas Salk who created the polio vacine; and the other is to make a major disruption to the well-being of the world. Few are going to make a positive contribution, but any fanatic with a mega-phone, in the right place, at the right time can emulate a well-placed earthquake or a missile. Michele Bachmann is a perfect example of a terrorist who detonates a cluster-bomb on the front steps of Congress during a photo op.

  • Tim in Rochester

    Time recognizes value-neutral influence. Hence the Ayatollah Khomeini, Hitler and Stalin have all been named Time’s people of the year.

    Michelle Bachman? Sure. I also nominate Denny Hecker (although he’s a little out of his league in this company).

  • Steve the Cynic

    Sad to say, I have to agree that Michelle Bachmann is indeed influential. What does it say about America that we let her ilk influence us?

  • Mike

    What an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the difference between influencial, and sane.

  • Ann

    Marion Ross and Judy Garland would be recognized by people of all ages all over the world.

  • George Davis

    The most influential Minnesotans are William W. Mayo and his two sons, Charlie H. and William J. Mayo. They founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and were very influential in the development of modern surgery. Their development of modern clinicial practice and of St. Mary’s Hospital which set the standard for such institutions world-wide. The influence of these contributions is still strong today even though the two brothers died in 1939.

  • Jessie

    I nominate businessman and motivational speaker, Harvey Mackay. For years I have been inspired by his actions and quotes such as “Do what you love and the money will follow” and “Success is being prepared for the opportunity”. With so much attention being given to political windbags I would love to see MPR focus on our living gems. For more Mackay inspiration go to (no disclaimers needed);


  • Dawn Y

    Representative Michelle Amble Bachmann originally born in Iowa but moved to and remained in Wisconsin at young age is concerned about all Americans now and future generations in the midst of a goverment of both Democrats and Republicans who do not care about the billions that are wasted on catering to lazy, irresponsible, selfish, idiotic, entitlement-minded individuals who vote only for self-serving purposes. We need more fiscally responsible people in our government willing to buck the stupidity of catering to out of control spending and waste of the War with Libya, Iraq, and Pakistan while America’s greatness is being further ruined by Ben Bernancke Counterfeit scheme (but legalized by calling it Quantitative Easing). We need more people like Representative Bachamann to expose the constitutional fraud that is being perpetrated by many government officials when 46% of our population today is supported by tax payer dollars.

    I’d include Governor Scott Walker who was originally born in Colarado but moved to Wisconsin and has remained since he was 10 years old. Anyone willing to take on the riducule of mindless wasters, and in which the President and many other fear-mongering, out-of-state supporters of who value supporting the unmotivated, unionized, above the law and everyone else-minded people and labor unions is impressive. Seems to me that Democrats are in terror that if people in unions are forced to pay more of their own health care costs and pension (but far less than privatized workers), then they won’t be able to enjoy a cushy life in comparison to non-unionized workers doing the same work and often times far better. Collective bargaining is Not a constitutional right of any state or of this nation, but is helpful to prevent abusive low wages. In the face of balancing the incoming money versus what is spent each month, something must be done to bring balance starting with collective bargaining is a good thing. The President preaches fairness, where is the fairness of what the unions in Wisconsin and many other states are doing by FORCING non-unionized workers and others to pay for exceedingly cushy deals where little is put in but much is given out. Unions now keep costs high and prevent competition which lowers the cost of products and services. Governor Walker is fighting to keep non-unionized Wisconsin’s from footing the bill for the unscrupulous deals made by both Republicans and Democrats that were paid off by unions to get re-elected in the past. It’s time that Unions and Big Businesses get out of politics and iinstead ndividuals offer support for candidates out of their own pockets if they choose to end the reign of waste, fraud, and abuse. He’s has the bold courage to do what will be best to put an end to the out of balance spending and I hope he is fondly remembered for this endeavor.

    I’d say anyone willing to take a moral stand and bring fiscal balance to their state or this nation in the face of outrageous, unfounded, untruthful allegations with blatent lies and fear mongering should be mentioned as influential because it takes great courage and conviction to do so.

    Then notables originally born in Wisconsin are: the Mayo Clinic co-founders William J, and Charlie H; America’s most famous architect who influenced the entire course of American architecture Frank L. Wright; Nobel Prize winner in Physics for the invention of the transistor that changed the course of history for computers John Bardeen (part of a team with Walter Brattain and William Shockley); Entrepreneurial businessman Curt Carlson; Five-time gold medalist speed skater of the 1980 Winter Olympics Eric Heiden: American artist and designer credited with many Walt Disney theme parks attractions and animated films Joyce Carlson; American actress of film, stage and television. The 3 time Emmy and 2 time Golden Globe winner Gena Rowlands; American theatrical and film actor, who appeared in 74 films from 1930 to 1967 Spencer Tracy; American film director, writer, actor, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio Orson Welles; American publisher, philanthropist, and diplomat Walter H. Annenberg.

  • Kevin VC

    There are many notables in Minnesota’s past.

    And currently many who are embarassments, like Bachmann (Brain dead and spewing gibberish: “If we tax the rich were are we going to get the rich from?” seriously…. how can anyone be that dumb…)

    Originally I was going to say

    Terry Gilliam for his humor, being a pioneer in Monty Python, and later a accomplished notable director.


    There of course is Lindberg, a aviation hero who helped improve many of our planes in WWII even after his fame was gained.

    Then I thought about Humphrey, but he was a little before my time. But was the Happy Crusader we can all look to.

    Then I recalled Paul Wellstone, and his campaign to put a voice to the voiceless, the weak, and those who are neglected and done so much for so many. He was the champion for those who already contributed so much, only to be ignored.

    Honestly if he was alive today I am sure he would be stomping his feet point out the ‘in human’ policies of the current Tea Party and their Ayn Rand belief that Altruism is ‘Evil’???

    I would say his help was across the board and still affects us today.

    So Paul Wellstone makes my vote.

  • pauline

    Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic CEO for hitting the ground running and making major policy regarding all Mayo locations. Former Sen. Walter Mondale and former Gov. Arne Carlson, especially as a team on air! Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Sen. John Marty — a quiet voice making much sense.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The irony of a supporter of Michelle Bachmann complaining about “outrageous, unfounded, untruthful allegations with blatent [sic] lies and fear mongering” by Democrats is utterly stunning, Dawn Y.

  • Dawn Y

    Steve the Cynic, I never said that Democrats are the culprit. What I wrote is as follows: “I’d say anyone willing to take a moral stand and bring fiscal balance to their state or this nation in the face of outrageous, unfounded, untruthful allegations with blatant lies and fear mongering should be mentioned as influential because it takes great courage and conviction to do so.”

    Changing subjects now, are you saying that because Michelle Bachmann wants to follow the Constitutional law and not continue the current policy of buying American votes through promises to get “free meals, room and board, etc” when some could work if they chose to and look into cutting the waste, fraud, and abuse of many GOVERNMENT run agencies initiated by both Republicans and Democrats this is a problem for you? Big Government establishment comes in both political flavors–Republican and Democratic parties. Big Government is simply a mind-set, not a political party. So, what is she doing that would destroy the fabric of America?

    I spoke of “outrageous,…fear-mongering” to say that not raising the debt ceiling doesn’t mean that people receiving Government issued checks will stop receiving them or police, fire, and military personnel who are essential will not get paid during a shutdown of our government. Just as I hope you were taught to balance your checkbook, we need our government to do the same and fear mongers are telling elderly people, retirees or those who rely on taxpayer dollars to support their legitimate illnesses that they will suffer during a shut down or if the Congress chooses to not raise the debt-ceiling is ridiculous, unfounded, and a lie. Our nation for too long has been paying out more than it takes in through taxes and fees each month. This has got to stop! Outgoing must match incoming, and just as anyone wanting to pay down on their credit card more money than the minimal balance so that they can get out of debt, our government must do the same. `

    Private sector jobs is how our Nation became great before President Wilson created the Federal Reserves–which has devalued the dollar so much so that now even Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has considered downgrading our AAA rating because America is considered a high risk for those willing to buy our debt– and the IRS without proper ratification by the states. (This is just an example of how congress, the president, and judges overstep the constitutional boundaries and get away with it and future generations pay for not knowing any better or looking the other way.) Then President FDR started the many economically killing socialist programs such as Social Security and Medicaid that we have today and these programs prolonged the Great Depression 7 years beyond the length of time it took Britain to recover because they didn’t have the socialist programs sapping their income during the 1920’s and 1930s. Social Security is a ponzi scheme because our government raided the money that people paid into it to support their pet projects and wars etc so that now it is NOT sustainable. The money never had a chance to accrue interest so that when people retired they would have something set aside for their old age. And with people living longer because of modern medicine the cost to support many retirees compounds the problem. History shows that once something is enacted then it becomes a nightmare trying to undo it (whether good or bad) because SOME people will complain that their rights–which may not be constitutional rights–to be careless, irresponsible, are not being protected.

    Our nation survived before these entitlements came into being through work and the charity of people, organizations, and churches. Today people believe they are entitled to hand outs when they make poor, foolish choices. It takes courage to potentially “offend” people with the truth and say no more free rides.

    When Americans rely on the government to fix problems or “save” them, they perpetuate the lie that the Government knows best and can fix their problems. Now, I am NOT saying that all federal jobs and or agencies are unnecessary and had or have no benefit, but some government agencies need to be removed the groping TSA needs to be replaced with a non-government agencies that won’t molest children and the federal educational department hasn’t improved our educational system and then there are others that need to be mindful when they are overstepping their intended purposes when not doing the preparatory work to consider the consequences of actions, policies or choices.

    Consider this, recently the EPA’s mandating low-flow toilet led to sewage backups and a stench that they wanted to correct using bleach in San Francisco. Double flushing to correct the problem defeats the purpose of the low-flow toilets. And the cost to pour bleach to cover the stench isn’t too brilliant or efficient. We have DEA agents killing innocent people and animals that are protecting themselves and/or homes because the wrong home is entered based on faulty search warrants and then these agents get away with it because they are government agent. We had a government FAA air traffic controller at Reagan National who fell asleep on the job and instead of firing the person and doing what ought to be done, excuses for why an airplane with passengers lives came second to the government employees’ right to doze was offered along with they should hire another person. I don’t want to pay more taxes to hire more employees like this. The government makes a lot of mistakes like in the TARP bailouts and then taxpayer dollar go towards bailing out their mistakes (for instance GM was a bailout and now the government will cost American taxpayers $22.8 billion on this swindle). Amtrak and USPS are two government run agencies that consistently make less than what they take in revenue because I believe the salaries and benefits that my taxes go to fund cannot be supported through the services that they render.

    Privatized businesses fail when they make costly poor decisions, but the government gets tax payers to pay for their mistakes and often struggle to fire or remove from office those who have done the wrong thing because many are a part of a union of some kind. Why are Americans allowing our government to constantly choose to do the wrong thing and mismanage many things and get away with it? I believe mainly because people don’t know what the Constitution says AND public school doesn’t want to teach students what the Bill of Rights and the Constitution says as it was intended by our Founders. The Constitution isn’t perfect in that it allowed slavery, but that was ratified later to correct this wrong mindset. Nevertheless many of its ideas and principals made America great at one time and if more Americans learn what their rights are then Big Government politicians from both parties will be out of a job and more people would be working instead of collecting checks. Who knows even more private sector jobs will begin to open up and compete thus lowering the cost for products and services. If the OVER-regulations subside this will even provide more job opportunities and be a greater incentive for some to venture out and reap what they sow.

    Government’s unwarranted intrusions are why America rebelled against England. More power needs to be given to states to govern how finances are divvied out so that a state can balance their own budgets and create an educational system that will cause students to stay in school and excel. Ultimately increasing government jobs only means more taxes are needed from private sector workers and businesses because even though a government employee pay taxes, the government job salaries come from the non-government worker’s taxes to support them initially. The government only consumes it does not create wealth.

    Many of us go through rough patches and especially in recent years our economy has plummeted fast while food and gas prices have skyrocketed because of Government policies that force the unsuspecting public to pay for more regulations and mandates which is killing our non government job creativity sector. Communism and Socialism ideals cannot and NEVER will work because hard-working, industrial people begin to say to themselves why should I work so hard, when my efforts and sacrifices will be squandered to provide for those who don’t want to put forth the same effort and energy? It is helpful that some of these agencies will help for a little while, but not to cause people to be enslaved by these government agencies. Congresswoman Bachmann is working towards righting the ship so that people keep what they honestly earn and keep the government off the backs of Americans today and hopefully in the future by following the Constitution.

    In closing, a little American history will help show why America needs to change its policies even though it may be painful for some and make others angry. During Colonial days in Jamestown, many people were starving to death because of lack of food. There was a man who became the president for a brief time by the name of John Smith and he wrote something that shows that “fairness” of sharing one man’s efforts of hard labor doesn’t work nor promote wellbeing in a society.

    “Countrymen, the long experience of our late miseries, I hope is sufficient to persuade every one to a present correction of himself, and think not that either my pains, nor the [investors’] purses, will ever maintain you in idleness and sloth. I speak not this to you all, for diverse of you I know deserve both honor and reward, better than is yet here to be had: but the greater part must be more industrious, or starve, how ever you have been heretofore tolerated by the authorities of the Council, from that I have often commanded you. You see now that power rests wholly in myself: you must obey this now for a Law, that he that will not work shall not eat (except by sickness he be disabled) for the labors of thirty or forty honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintain an hundred and fifty idle loiterers. And though you presume the authority here is but a shadow, and that I dare not touch the lives of any but my own must answer it: the Letters patents shall each week be read to you, whose Contents will tell you the contrary. I would wish you therefore without contempt seek to observe these orders set down, for there are now no more Councilors to protect you, nor curb my endeavors. Therefore he that offends, let him assuredly expect his due punishment.” http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/smith.cfm

  • Steve the Cynic

    Ooh, I guess I kicked a hornets’ nest. Suffice it to say, Dawn Y, I interpret our history differently. Before the Federal Reserve and banking regulations enacted since the Great Depression, the American economy was on a boom-and-bust roller coaster. Those controls worked until Glass–Steagall was repealed, paving the way for the crash of 2008. FDR’s moderate reforms saved capitalism from itself by taking the wind out of the sails of the growing socialist movement in America and preventing a full-blown communist revolution after the obvious failure of laissez faire in 1929. America’s economy became the biggest in the world under the system you’re deriding.

    Back to the subject at hand, when what comes out of Michelle Bachmann’s mouth ammounts to “outrageous, unfounded, untruthful allegations with blatant lies and fear mongering,” is she lying for herself, or stupidly repeating others’ lies?

  • Dawn Y

    Steve, you still haven’t answered my question how is that Congresswoman Bachmann is harming our society by following the Constitution and attempting to reign in governments involvement in places it should go and thus leading to our 14.3 deficit which I would not say helps anything to boom but make the products that we buy higher.

    Not all government involvement is bad because it matters that all businesses do not put public safety and well-being in harm whether they are non-government or government run businesses.

    Please tell me the outrageous, unfounded, untruthful allegations with blatant lies and fear mongering statements she has made that has you so displeased with her and her ilk?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Dawn Y, your rhetorical question about “following the Constitution” insinuates that Bachmann’s political opponents are not following the Constitution. That is a fringe opinion, which I reject. As for her numerous factual inaccuracies and misleading statements, they are well documented and well known, except to the willfully ignorant. One example: her preposterous assertion that President Obama’s trip to Asia was costing $200M/day.

    More troubling to me is her misleading rhetoric. For instance, her assertion that “Obamacare is the crown jewel of socialism” completely misconstrued both the Affordable Care Act and socialism. If that statement reflected her sincere belief, then she is so ill-informed as to be completely unqualified for public office. If not, then she was playing on people’s emotions (i.e., fear-mongering) with a lie. Add to that the credence she was giving to the “birthers” and to speculations that Obama is secretly a muslim, or a marxist, or both (which is logically impossible), and we have someone who is a prime example of everything that’s wrong with American politics today.

  • Dawn Y

    The constitution says that Obamacare is wrong, because the Government has NO authority to mandate that people buy into it according to Section 9 of US Constitution “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.” The following article brings to light the problems with allowing Obamacare to stand (http://articles.cnn.com/2010-12-13/opinion/shapiro.court.mandate.health_1_individual-mandate-health-insurance-economic-activity?_s=PM:OPINION).

    If Obamacare was so awesome than why have many businesses, unions and a few states getting exemptions? McDonald’s, 29 other firms get health care coverage waivers (http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/2010-10-07-healthlaw07_ST_N.htm). Unions make up 40% of employees exempted from Obamacare (http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/01/unions-make-40-percent-employees-exempted-obamacare). Five states have been graced with their very own Obamacare waivers, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and, newest pampered friend, Maine (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/25/now-even-the-loudest-obamacare-cheerlea-305819702/?page=all).

    It’s going to take 105 Billion dollars to implement this horrific plan (http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/09/politifact-factcheck-and-wapo-all-confirm-the-105-billion-obamacare-slush-fund-exists/). People may need affordable insurance, but MAKING people & businesses purchase it is wrong and unconstitutional. The regulations of Obamacare will potentially create a financial nightmare because of the fines for those who do not want to buy into this mess y, legalese-written Act. I’ve downloaded this thing, and read some of it. NO bill should ever be passed unless people know what is in it. Yet, former speaker of the house Pelosi said we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it (www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV-05TLiiLU). And our Congress can enforce regulations to make insurance affordable without the creation of more government agencies to cover different parts of Obamacare that will only reduce the quality of health care for some who like their plan or have a plan (http://en.ce.cn/World/Americas/201104/18/t20110418_22370312.shtml).

    People of all positions run wild with not doing the necessary fact finding or confirmation. Yes it is true that 200M/day was wrong. But many media sources and politicians have made wrong claims like when it was reported that President Bush didn’t serve in the military or he was AWOL (http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1tvxm/thepoliticalarena/Pres.%20Bush's%20AWOL%20Facts.htm) and when Obama said surgeons are paid $50,000/amputated leg when it is more like Medicare pays between $740 and $1,140 he too lied according to your standards (http://www.facs.org/news/obama081209.html).

    One does not have to be a naturalized citizen to run for and serve in any political office except the Presidency. The President spent millions keeping his birth certificate from the public’s view. Most people will wonder why. What possibly can be in a person’s birth certificate that you’d want to keep it hidden? Truly, IF it were to come out that Obama isn’t constitutionally allow to become president and has gotten away with it, this will NOT vote well with me and many Americans. I cannot say that I’m impressed with the direction that American has been going in. And I’m sure you may have heard there appears to be a problem with a possible forgery of long form birth certificate just now provided (http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-spokane/critics-argue-obama-s-long-form-birth-certificate-is-fake and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBgkDSw-wQ0).

    Socialism has a wide array of definitions and has varying meanings based on the context (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism) so I’m not going to entertain your comments on misconstruing Obamacare and Socialism because I personally believe that Obamacare is socialized medicine.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Dawn Y, are you a Bachmann staffer or something? Your ideas are too extreme to be worth taking seriously.

  • Nicholas

    The fairly recent usage of the word “marihuana/marijuana” for a plant that’s been used by humans since the dawn of civilization has been mystery to me. What’s Anatoly Liberman’s understanding of this matter?

  • Brian

    This is a serious question, but is perhaps one that the professor could answer online only (I doubt it could make a radio broadcast). I have been reading an account of 19th century cattle drives written by a Texas cowboy when he was toward the end of his life in the 1920s. He mentions a prominent cattle-boss of the 19th century whose name is unfortunate (certainly if the man lived today): “Dick Head.” The man’s name was Richard, of course, but he’s regularly referred to in this account as “Dick.” It’s not a totally uncommon nickname today for a man whose name is “Richard.” What is the etymology behind the word’s use as a slang/crude moniker for a male’s genitalia? When/why did that use of the word start?

  • kevins

    I frequently hear people minuse the phrase “begs the question”, stating it as if another question were called for, rather than one being avoided. I wish there were a way to tactfully educate them. The one I am most curious about however, is “Dressed to the nines”, which seems to have unclear or ambiguous origins….any thoughts?

  • Bruce

    The word is mansplaining (or mansplainin’). I was accused of it in an email from a woman who was quite offended by something I wrote to her. She was wrong, of course, but doesn’t seem to want to read my explanation of why that is so.

  • Tony

    I have hear way too many people lately use the word “cray ” instead of crazy. And it drives me cray.

  • Robb

    manscara, manlashes, or guyliner as in Russell Brand or those manscara rockers

  • Have you noted how often people say “yeah no” ?

  • ato

    command line? is it behind the front-line where the privileged ones pretend to be in control of the situation? and what is the situation room?

  • Michelle

    It seems like everyone is using “literally” a lot lately. E.g., I literally ate a million calories at dinner last night or I literally cried for two months. It’s a complete misrepresentation of the word and the event it’s being used to describe. It drives me nuts! When did this become so popular in everyday conversation?

  • Steve

    Horrid speech habit of the year: “That said…”

  • Carrie

    You were talking about the overuse of adverbs. There is one word that people use incorrectly that should be an adverb but they don’t use the adverb form. The incorrectly used word is the word “seriously”. I’ve heard many people say “I didn’t take it serious.” No, you didn’t take it seriously!!!

  • John

    Speakers’ use of the negative can produce uncertainty in communications. Why does the convention, “Don’t you” as in “Don’t you want to go to the movie together?” exist? To further complicate, a respondent might say “Yes”– leaving it unclear if they heard the original question in its negative phrasing. Is this practice one showing the lack of assertiveness people have in a given geographic area, or is it a much wider practice of people everywhere just trying to gird themselves against rejection?