Posted by Smokey Stover on November 19, 2004
In Reply to: Pearl Harbor phrase posted by ESC on November 18, 2004
: : : : Today someone was quoted in the paper as saying something was "no big deal." My coworkers and I think the incident in question was a big deal. Or, at least, a deal.
: : : : One coworker said it reminded him of a Pearl Harbor-era person who said the gathering threat from Japan was "no big deal." It may have been in reference to a spotting of planes headed our way. Does that ring a bell with anyone? I have googled without finding anything like that.
: : : There is a cycle to use and popularity of words, and your thought about the pre WWII period makes sense. In that era there were a lot of 'deals'. The New Deal, the Fair Deal, etc., and many of the Roosevelt era programs were aspects of one or another of these 'deals'. So it wouldn't surprise me if the expression 'no big deal' became popular in that era.
: : typo - read pre WWII, please.
: That's true. What I'm trying to find out is, who made light of the Japanese threat?
I for one would be astonished to hear of someone accuately quoted as having said "no big deal" before or during World War II. Yes, there were deals, of which Roosevelt's New Deal was one. He was referring to another dealing of the cards. I don't think that's quite the same deal as Theodore Roosevelt's square deal, but it might be. However, "big deal" and "no big deal" came into favor after, not before, WW II, I'm almost certain.
As for making light of the Japanese threat, I, too, am curious. There were plenty of people who downplayed it a bit in one way or another, but I don't think anyone actually pooh-poohed it. SS