Mush from the Wimp

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"Mush from the Wimp" was a joke headline accidentally passed through to publication at the top of a Boston Globe editorial in 1980.

Origins of the phrase[edit]

On March 15, 1980, The Boston Globe ran an editorial that began:

Certainly it is in the self-interest of all Americans to impose upon themselves the kind of economic self-discipline that President Carter urged repeatedly yesterday in his sober speech to the nation. As the President said, inflation, now running at record rates, is a cruel tax, one that falls most harshly upon those least able to bear the burden.

There was nothing exceptional about it except the headline: "Mush from the Wimp". The headline—which was supposed to have read "All Must Share the Burden"—was corrected during the print run after 161,000 copies had already gone to circulation.[1]

In November 1982, Globe editorial page editor Kirk Scharfenberg wrote an op-ed piece discussing his creation of the phrase and the use of "wimp" as a popular political insult afterwards.[2] "I meant it as an in-house joke and thought it would be removed before publication," he explained. "It appeared in 161,000 copies of the Globe the next day."[1]

Theo Lippman Jr., of The Baltimore Sun, subsequently declared "Mush from the Wimp" the second most famous newspaper headline of the 20th century, behind "Wall St. Lays an Egg" and ahead of "Ford to City: Drop Dead".[2]

Later usage[edit]

The phrase became well known enough that, in 1995, a Globe editorial chastising the Iditarod race for caving in to pressure from animal rights activists was titled "More Wimps from the Mush".[3]


  1. ^ a b "Kirk Scharfenberg, 48; Editor on Boston Globe". The New York Times. 1992-08-29.
  2. ^ a b Scharfenberg, Kirk (1982-11-06). "Now It Can Be Told ... The Story Behind Campaign '82's Favorite Insult". The Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. p. 1. Retrieved 2011-01-20. (Subscription required (help)).
  3. ^ "More wimps from the mush". The Boston Globe (City ed.). 1995-03-10. p. 22. Retrieved 2011-01-20. (Subscription required (help)).