Origin of "we are all [blank] now"
June 29, 2007 4:02 PM   Subscribe

What is the origin of the phrase "we are all [blank] now"? The earliest 'famous' usage I'm aware of is Nixon's "we are all Keynesians now," but I don't know if that was really where it started.
posted by Urban Hermit to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You might find this Language Log post very interesting. It touches on just this snowclone.

Just a quick quote of two early examples:

"We are all republicans — we are all federalists." — Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural address, 1801 (sent in by Language Hat)

"We are all sons of bitches now." — Trinity A-bomb test director Kenneth Bainbridge to Richard Feynman, 1945, according to James Gleick's Genius (sent in by Blake Stacey)

posted by ElectricBlue at 4:07 PM on June 29, 2007

Wow, five minutes. AskMe continues to amaze me.
posted by languagehat at 4:33 PM on June 29, 2007

Also thought of the (apparently apocryphal) tale of Danish king Christian's defiance of the Nazi order for all Jewish citizens to don the Star of David during the occupation. Snopes debunks the heartening fable, while exploring its basis:
A Swedish newspaper cartoon (possibly the origin of this legend) depicted the monarch talking with the former Danish prime minster, who asks him, "What are we going to do, Your Majesty, if Scavenius makes all the Jews wear yellow stars?" (Erik Scavenius was the Danish foreign minister who became prime minister at the insistence of the Germans after the Danish government resigned in 1943.) The king responds by asserting, "We'll all have to wear yellow stars."
posted by rob511 at 5:33 PM on June 29, 2007

Best answer: I go with We are all socialists now (1888), which spawned cognates such as We are all imperialists now (1907), We are all dictators now (1926), We are all protectionists now (1928) and We are all liberals now (1959 book). I even found what is probably an early parody, We are all dieting now (LA Times, 1927).

I think this track is much more what you're looking for than more general items like "we are all X" without the "now". It was certainly the context for the Nixon quote.
posted by dhartung at 10:09 PM on June 29, 2007

In the economics world we think of Keynes saying we are all monetarists now, though a books.google.com search does not show it. I thought it was in "a tract on monetary reform." Then much later Nixon saying, consciously after keynes, we are all keynsians now.
posted by shothotbot at 10:33 PM on June 29, 2007

Another data point: Bernard Shaw, we are all Bolsheviks now (1919; from here).
posted by languagehat at 7:52 AM on June 30, 2007

We are all the Ralph now.
posted by Area Control at 10:31 AM on July 2, 2007

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