Nicknames: Big Red Cheese

I never understood why Captain Marvel was called “The Big Red Cheese”. I thought it was a slang term like bad donkey, except used incorrectly. Well, I googled it and came up with this result:

The synopsis is that he was originally “dubbed” a big lump of muscle by Dr. Sivana and then, later, a big red cheese cake. He was later called a big slice of red cheese, and finally called “The Big Red Cheese”.

Call me a simpleton, but I still can’t get behind the nickname.

What are your thoughts? Should he have another nickname?

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Edit: I thought a simpleton was someone who wanted things simple, basic, or traditional. So, I guess I proved I am a simpleton by not knowing what a simpleton meant.

There is an interesting article here, on the evolution of the moniker.

I think it also comes about through the use of a couple of slang terms of the time.

Big Cheese: Either meant someone who was powerful (The leader of a gang or the police chief) It was also used in a sarcastic way to describe someone who thought they were a big shot, but weren’t. (Adding the “Red” made sense since his costume is pretty much all red)

Big Red Cheesecake: Cheesecake was a term for pinup models popular in that time. I think Sivana’s use of it was a way to refer to “that guy thinks he’s a big shot but he’s really just a “woman”, all muscles on the outside but not a “man” on the inside. To be brutal, the term cheesecake could equate a term I am loathe to even use, however, it has been used for quite some time and unfortunately still is, the term “fa@@ot”, used as a general pejorative about a male. Especially as an attack to the “masculine nature”.

It’s quite a sad commentary to think that Sivana basically was calling Captain Marvel an “egotistical nobody f****t”. But, if you break down the sociolinguistics of the time, that’s basically what he’s calling him.

The Big Red Cheese, (not cheesecake, because that probably wasn’t going to make it past the editors more than a couple of times) becomes a label able to be used either way. Used by Sivana, it is an insult, because it is used sarcastically. By the fan base it’s a positive because CM is “the big cheese” (powerful, big shot) of superheroes.

I just realized as I was writing this. Sivana is the one villain in the DCU that I have always wanted somebody to really kick the snot of him. Full body cast required, kick the snot out of. Have Sivana say the wrong thing to Guy Gardner or even better, the JL/JLU Hawkgirl and watch him just get pummeled into darn near paste. And I think it’s because of his use of language. Especially the cheesecake remark.

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Back then, didn’t the term faggot refer to wood for kindling? I know it did in Lord of the Rings.

It may have but it was, unfortunately, used in US vernacular as a pejorative.

I loathe the fact that it was. However, it’s historical context needs to be known, so we stand a chance of not being doomed to doomed to repeat its repugnant usage again.

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As a linguistical note. The usage you reference is for any bundle of stick shaped objects bound together for fire. Iron rods bundled together would fit that use of the term as well. JRRT likely kept the UK spelling with 2 “g”s, where as the US used the term with only one “g”. Likely to distinguish its difference between the derogatory usage which kept the 2 “g”s.

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I always thought that the Big Red Cheese was a great nickname. It does kind of describe him (unfairly). It’s the same unfair thing as calling Superman a boy scout.