Sunday, January 6, 2008

Gauche Caviar

I was watching the French news last week (trying to maintain the little French I know) and saw their coverage of the upcoming Iowa caucus. They went through the leading four candidates for the right and the left, enumerating a few pluses and minuses for each individual.

One of John Edward's negatives was that he was "gauche caviar." I got a sense of what this idiom must mean, but had to look it up on wikipedia:

Gauche caviar (Caviar left) is a French term to describe someone who claims to be a socialist without feeling the need to espouse an appropriate lifestyle. It implies that the person is less than sincere in their beliefs.

Similar terms in English include limousine liberal, chardonnay socialist, champagne socialist. Hypocrisy is implied.


Gauche means left in French; Rive Gauche is the left bank of the Seine (specifically a tony area along the left bank of Paris). But in English, we can also call something gauche if it's inappropriate or vulgar. That's an exaggeration of gauche's second meaning, awkward.

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