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A syndicated newspaper life-coach warns against “getting catfished.”  Every ready to learn new slang, I brought the question of what this phrase meant to a reference librarian.  She said getting catfished means that one person in an on-line communication has adopted a false identity or is being less that truthful in personal matters.  

The source of the phrase, according to the librarian, is that one party may be expecting a flounder, but, alas, pulls up a lowly, bottom-feeding catfish (who happens to be ugly as well.)  

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that flounders are also bottom-feeders and not really that handsome, given two eyes on one side of their face, I must protest.

Making catfish the subject of phrase such as this, is, well, slanderous, unfair and cruel.  

Catfish happen to be delicious, either filleted or made into a stew and by that time their appearance and what they eat is largely forgotten.  

Does no-one even think about a catfish’s feelings?  Relationships are often something to stew over but I don’t think that is the reason catfish were chosen for this slur.  I suspect catfish bigotry from that segment of the elite which may not know the difference between a hook and a sinker, but are only too willing to go to the natural world for fishy metaphors.  

John Phaup, New Bern


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