Winnie the Flu

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Tweet from Joshua Wong 黃之鋒, Secretary-General of Demosistō:

So many layers and levels of visual and verbal puns and metaphors!

To understand more fully the implications of Yeahman Tse's LEGO figure and its accompanying pet, see the following posts:


  1. Bathrobe said,

    February 24, 2020 @ 7:27 pm

    That is so unkind!

  2. Ben Zimmer said,

    February 24, 2020 @ 9:24 pm

    This may be partially inspired by a controversial editorial cartoon in a Danish newspaper showing the flag of China with its stars replaced by spiky coronaviruses. (China demanded a public apology.) Connecting that to Xi Jinping-as-Winnie the Pooh/Flu (and Lego-fying the whole thing) takes it to a whole 'nother level, though.

  3. Paul Turpin said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 4:37 am

    Lego pieces have evolved since the '60s..!

  4. mesas said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 6:30 am

    I strongly agree with the comment above that places the bullet of the newspaper, I just remembered that cartoon of the flag of China.

  5. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 7:26 am

    Is it only non-native speakers of English who use "call it as X", "label it as X", and similar expressions where "as" is unnecessary?

  6. Ben Lowsen said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 9:03 am

    The unkind thing is what Xi is doing to China, to say the least. Ordinary people expressing themselves freely are only a reflection of that.

  7. Philip Taylor said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 10:16 am

    Jerry F — native speaker of <Br.E> here. I would often label something as x, but never call something as x.

  8. Philip Taylor said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 10:19 am

    The OED says :

    [label, v.] 4. transitive. To apply a classifying word or phrase to (a person or thing); to categorize (a person or thing) using a particular word or phrase (sometimes with the implication that such categorization is inaccurate, simplistic, or restrictive). Chiefly with as or complement specifying the classifying word or phrase. Cf. label n.1 9.

  9. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 11:35 am

    Philip Taylor: Thanks for the answer.

  10. Michael Watts said,

    February 25, 2020 @ 12:47 pm

    Native speaker of American English; "label as" is normal. "Call as" is ungrammatical.

  11. Michael Watts said,

    February 26, 2020 @ 3:41 am

    I'm speculatively curious whether Chinese "we call [it] as X" might be a fairly direct mental transference from 称为. I often think of 为 wéi as being an equivalent of "as".

  12. Michèle Sharik Pituley said,

    February 26, 2020 @ 5:36 am

    An anecdote about the use of "as" by non English 1st language speakers:

    My brother is Dutch. (I'm not. Long story.) German was his first language, English is his 3rd. When speaking English he sometimes says things such as "as larger as". Sometimes he means "as large as" and sometimes "larger than".

    Is English "as" complicated relative to non-English "equivalents"?

  13. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 26, 2020 @ 7:39 am

    Michael Watts: Thanks to you too.

  14. raempftl said,

    February 26, 2020 @ 7:57 am

    @ Michèle Sharik Pituley

    It is definitely relatively complicated for German (and maybe Dutch) speakers as its cognate „als“ is often used quite differently:

    as large as = genauso groß wie
    larger than = größer als

    On the other hand, sometimes the usage is exactly the same:

    label as X = als X bezeichnen

  15. Chandra said,

    February 26, 2020 @ 8:52 am

    In my experiences teaching both English and French as second languages, prepositions in general are one of the hardest things for people to master.

  16. John Swindle said,

    February 26, 2020 @ 7:50 pm

    English prepositions can be tricky even for English speakers. Esperanto has a batch of prepositions but also a generic "je" that can be used if the others don't feel right.

  17. Michèle Sharik Pituley said,

    February 27, 2020 @ 3:13 am

    Part of raempftl's comment makes me idly curious: „als"

    When Americans make "air quotes" both hands are palm down. Do speakers of languages wo make quotes like raempftl's („als") do them with one hand up and one hand down?

    6:30 am random thoughts ….

  18. Philip Taylor said,

    February 27, 2020 @ 10:33 am

    A very interesting (and worthwhile) question, IMHO, Michèle.

  19. Michael Watts said,

    February 27, 2020 @ 11:55 am

    When Americans make "air quotes" both hands are palm down.

    What does this mean? I would have said Americans make air quotes with palms forward (so that extended fingers point up), not palms down. With palms down, you'd be making some kind of weird scratching gesture.

  20. raempftl said,

    February 27, 2020 @ 11:02 pm

    @Michèle Sharik Pituley
    Speakers of other cultures don't do air quotes at all.

    In fact, I picked this habit up from watching American shows a couple of years ago and noticed that I confused some of my German friends when using them. And a Japanese friend even directly asked me what this gesture was supposed to mean.

  21. Michèle Sharik Pituley said,

    March 2, 2020 @ 6:13 am

    @Michael Watts, forward or down, I meant dorsal side of hand toward my own face, as opposed to palm up (not toward my face, but actually toward the ceiling/sky) if I were doing "upside down" „quotes„. (And now I'm going down a google rabbit hole about different types of quotation marks….)

    @raempftl – Lol that's awesome and funny. But how do they then convey the same meaning Americans do when we use them?

    Also: I have a book about Japanese gestures; they seem to have a rich gestural language that I find fascinating. Maybe they have the same question I asked above — how do others convey that same meaning *without* the gestures? Lol

    Cf Italian "speaking with their hands". Humans are fascinating.

  22. chris said,

    March 3, 2020 @ 2:50 pm

    Magnificent. And I'm surprised no one thought to say this before, but surely this deserves to go viral!

    Does Chinese have a well-established phrase for Internet content that quickly becomes widely shared and discussed?

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