For Pete's sake, people, I'm the biggest anti-corporate commie in South Dakota, and I'm willing to take Svanberg's apology at face value. Svanberg is Swedish. His words were nothing more than a clumsy reformulation of the American colloquialism, "the little guy." That phrase is arguably semantically identical to Svanberg's utterance, yet it causes no uproar in American English usage. Among the examples of such usage I can find this morning:
- an editorial cartoonist criticizing Senator Lisa Murkowski for taking huge donations from Big Oil
- a blogger who shares my distaste for corporate personhood
- a Texas letter writer who thinks we do more for "the little guy" by expanding oil drilling than by passing "Marxist" policies like cap-and-trade
- a blogger criticizing political ads using fear of big government to oppose credit card regulations
- candidate Barack Obama explaining in a presidential debate why he picked Joe Biden for VP
Oh yeah, Svanberg's big oil corporation agreed to set up a $20-billion fund to compensate folks damaged by its oil spill and suspend three quarters of dividend payments while it cleans up its mess in the Gulf of Mexico. Not bad.