Recently, Mark Zuckerberg was asked to attend an important international grand committee set up, as I understand it, by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee at the Houses of Parliament in London, UK. The intention was to question Mr Zuckerberg over recent data breaches, allegations of business malpractice, allegations of the spread of disinformation and hate speech and so on, on Facebook.
24 official representatives.
447 million people represented.
One question: where is Mark Zuckerberg? pic.twitter.com/BK3KrKvQf3
— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsCMS) November 27, 2018
Mr Zuckerberg did not turn up as the photograph shows. A Belgian representative (of Facebook, the company I believe) remarked that Mark Zuckerberg had “sent his cat”. The Belgian had written this in his or her own language which I understand referred to a Flemish idiom, Zijn kat stern.
Zijn kat stern – Sent his/her cat
Translated into English the phrase means “sent his cat” or in other words, “to not show up”. We are told this by Henriette Louwerse, the Director of Dutch Studies at the University of Sheffield in England.
“Historically its connotation was more negative…and referred to when you have a debt you don’t want to settle, or you don’t care,” said Louwerse.
It goes back as far as 1201 and is possibly much older.
Dead Cat Bounce
The phrase indicates how thoroughly the domestic cat has been integrated into the lives of humans for millennia. The cat is quite often used in phrases. One that comes up very frequently current concerns the business and financial sectors. It is, “dead cat bounce”. It refers to a small recovery after a long decline in the financial investment markets followed by a continued downtrend. This rather unpleasant phrase indicates that a dead cat does not bounce that well. It’s a phrase that should be dropped as it us unpleasant.