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After you, Alphonse Apr 11

I was watching Newsnight tonight – unusual for me, but it was on after The Apprentice – You’re Fired!. I noticed Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary Chris Huhne quote the phrase “After you, Alphonse” in the context of the developed world not being prepared to tackle climate change until the developing world takes action.

Naturally, my immediate reaction was to get Googling to find out who Alphonse was. Here’s the answer:

Alphonse and Gaston were comic strip characters created by the American cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper (1857-1937). The popular strip ran from 1902-1920’s and featured Alphonse and Gaston, two inordinately polite Frenchmen. Their signature phrase was “After you, my dear Gaston” and “After you, my dear Alphonse.” The two soon became synonymous with exaggerated politeness or deference.

More on Opper at Wikipedia.

3 Responses

  1. Good grief. Huhne with his finger on the bleeding edge of popular culture there.

  2. 2

    Surely that should be ‘Good grief, Charlie Brown…’

  3. 3

    Being a Liberal Democrat, he should of course have followed that up with a Doctor Who reference and said ‘allons-y Alonso!’