A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 16, 2010
Congresscritter (Congress + critter)

"Congresscritter” (or “Congress critter” or “Congress-critter,” and also in lowercase “congresscritter") is an unflattering nickname for a member of Congress. “Critter’ means “creature.” “Congresscritter” has been used by science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle since at least 1979 and was used sparingly (mostly by Pournelle himself) in the 1980s.

“Congresscritter” has achieved great popularlity since about 2005, especially on blogs. Other derogatory terms for a member of Congress include “Congresscriminal,” “Congressmoron” and “Congresspuke.”


Wiktionary: Congresscritter
Noun
congresscritter (plural congresscritters)
(US, pejorative, slang) A congressperson
Quotations
. 2003 Stuart Johnston - Trading Options to Win
.. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 firm’s chief economist (heck, you don’t even need to know any more economics than a Congresscritter, ie, virtually none), to see that these spreads had to change . . .
. Richard M. Stallman “US citizens: call your congresscritters and senators and say they should pass a law to apply US criminal law to US government contractors and their employees in foreign countries

Urban Dictionary
congresscritter
A congresswoman or congressman: an elected official who serves in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the United States Congress. “Congresscritters” can also, loosely, include U.S. Senators. The term is gender-neutral, and also attempts to remove these elected representatives from their pedestals.
“Writing to your congresscritters about an issue may seem pointless, but when enough people—you and your friends and their friends and THEIR friends—make their voices heard, the congresscritters will realize that their chances of reelection ARE affected by doing the right thing.”
by Grinning Cat Oct 22, 2007

Urban Dictionary
Congress Critter
A generic term; used to inclusively refer to all members of Congress.
Have you written to your Congress Critters about the state of the economy lately?
by ACRScout Feb 1, 2010

The Free Dictionary
crit·ter (krtr)
n. Informal
1. A living creature.
2. A domestic animal, especially a cow, horse, or mule.
3. A person.

[Alteration of creature.]
Regional Note: Critter, a pronunciation spelling of creature, actually reflects a pronunciation that would have been very familiar to Shakespeare: 16th- and 17th-century English had not yet begun to pronounce the -ture suffix with its modern (ch) sound. This archaic pronunciation still exists in American critter and in Irish creature, pronounced (krtr) and used in the same senses as the American word. The most common meaning of critter is “a living creature,” whether wild or domestic; it also can mean “a child” when used as a term of sympathetic endearment, or it can mean “an unfortunate person.” In old-fashioned speech, critter and beast denoted a large domestic animal. The more restricted senses “a cow,” “a horse,” or “a mule” are still characteristic of the speech in specific regions of the United States. The use of critter among younger speakers almost always carries with it a jocular or informal connotation.

Wikipedia: Jerry Pournelle
Jerry Eugene Pournelle (born August 7, 1933) is an American science fiction writer, essayist and journalist who contributed for many years to the computer magazine Byte and has since 1998 been maintaining his own website/blog.

From the beginning, Pournelle’s work has engaged strong military themes. Several books are centered on a fictional mercenary infantry force known as Falkenberg’s Legion. There are strong parallels between these stories and the Childe Cycle mercenary stories by Gordon R. Dickson, as well as Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, although Pournelle’s work takes far fewer technological leaps than either of these.

Google Books
A Step Farther Out
By Jerry Pournelle
New York, NY: Ace
1979
Pg. 43:
There are a number of Congresscritters who’d like nothing better than to convert the Shuttle into benefits for their own districts.
Pg. 335:
So: if you’re in a mood to write your Congresscritter about energy problems, you might mention that here’s a slot where, in my considered judgment, a few million bucks will do a lot of good.

Google Books
Mindkiller: a novel of the near future
By Spider Robinson
New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
1982
Pg. 95:
“I haven’t exactly got detailed plans yet—”
“Phone your congresscritter? Write a letter to The Village Voice? Shoot every wire-surgeon in town?”

Google Books
Lucifer’s Hammer
By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
New York, NY: Fawcett Crest
1983
Pg. 191:
But this won’t be my last mission. We’ve got the Shuttle coming up, if those goddam congresscritters don’t turn it into pork for their own districts…

2 June 1984, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, “Jackson’s blas regular Democratic fare” by Joseph Sobran, sec. 1, pg. 10, col. 2:
The most important fact about the Rev. Jackson is not that he is a black candidate; it is that he is a typical Democratic candidate, a man of the party of George McGovern, Edward Kennedy, Bella Abzug, Ramsey Clark, and those 10 Congress-critters who recently praised the communist rulers of Nicaragua for “opening up the political process” in that country.

Google Books
Sierre Madre
By G. Harry Stine
New York, NY: Windsor Books
1988
Pg. 27:
Thus, unable to be used as originally intended in central Europe, the Robot Infantry regiments of the United States Army found themselves primarily engaged in security patrols, an occasional minor skirmish, and a lot of high-visibility public relations that were partly psych-war and partly to keep the folks at home happy, which in turn kept the Congresscritters approving budget requests for the visible, glitzy, awesome, and high-tech Robot Infantry.

Google Books
2 January 1989, InfoWorld, “A User’s View” by jerry Pournelle, pg. 45, col. 3:
(There’s a limit to what one PAC can give one Congress critter, but there’s no real limit on the number of PACs that a group of people can form.)

Google News Archive
4 September 1989, Hendersonville (NC) Times-News, “A Strange Immunity” by William F. Buckley, Jr., pg. 4, col. 5:
Jerry Pournelle, the science-fiction writer, has commented that it used to be the Congress-critters (his word) would find themselves in difficulty if caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Tuesday, March 16, 2010 • Permalink