Sunday, December 14, 2008

Banana

I always learn something new when I watch Bill Moyers. Tonight is no different. Maybe I'm just an idiot (who never payed attention in history class... oops), but I had no idea that "banana republic" was an actual term that represented anything beyond expensive clothes in muted colors.

But tonight Bill Moyers used "banana republic" in its originally intended context -- it means a country ruled by a corrupt dictatorial regime. Apparently it originally referred to Central and South American dictatorships that were created in order to exploit natural resources - specifically banana crops. Colloquially today, it usually just refers to a small, politically unstable country whose leaders are corrupt and whose economy relies on one export.

According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know, really reliable source), the term was coined in 1904 by a writer whose alias was O. Henry, in reference to the corrupt regime governing Honduras at the time.

I'm having trouble finding any reliable sources online, so I'll spare you the links. Instead we can all just go look it up in a book like we used to in olden times.

You learn something new every day. I have to say, it seems like a strange choice for the name of a company. (See creepy photo below.)

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