Re: PAB white paper is out

Kent Crispin (
Fri, 5 Jun 1998 11:50:12 -0700

On Fri, Jun 05, 1998 at 08:16:26PM +0200, Sascha Ignjatovic wrote:
> On Fri, 5 Jun 1998, Kent Crispin wrote:
> > After a cursory look I am reminded of a comment of Ansel Adams', on a
> > meeting he had with then-president Ronald Reagan: "I like to say it
> > was when the vacuum hit the fan."
> mr.crispin
> could you please translate this to us non americans :-)


There is a colloquial expression: "when the shit hits the fan". It
describes in colorful terms an explosive scattering of bad things,
and the phrase is usually used to describe the situation that results
when a powerful authority discovers information that will lead it to
take decisive punitive action. For example, a teenager who has just
wrecked his parents car might say "the shit will hit the fan when my
Dad finds out!"

Ansel Adams was a famous photographer and environmentalist; and Ronald
Reagan *not* famous for his environmental sentiments (A quote of
Reagan's: "You see one redwood tree, you've seen them all".)

Adams attended a function, where he had an opportunity to speak to
Reagan. Adams had a little speech prepared where he planned to
confront Reagan with questions concerning his environmental policy.
The time came, Adams gave his speech, and Reagan just ignored it.

Hence the substitution of "vacuum" for "shit" in the phrase.

But more than that, there is the association of "vacuum" with Reagan.
And I have in my mind the image of a fan turning around blowing a
hefty breeze, suddenly spinning madly as all the air is removed --
sort of like how a boat propeller will spin if it were raised into
the air...

> thanks
> sascha
> my understanding there is a reason to congratulate the internet
> community !
> congratulations :-)

I think so, too. The white paper really seems to be a significant
retreat on the part of the USG.

Kent Crispin, PAB Chair			"No reason to get excited",			the thief he kindly spoke...
PGP fingerprint:   B1 8B 72 ED 55 21 5E 44  61 F4 58 0F 72 10 65 55