A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist.
- Sir Humphrey Appleby, ‘Yes, Minister’
Searching the web for variations on the “* is what a * calls a *” snowclone turns up things like
- A cynic is what a romantic calls a realist
- A pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist
- a cult is what a big religion calls a small religion
- A stable is what a pimp calls a group of women that prostitute for him
- a Squid is what a dumb Jarhead calls a sailor
- A Hottie is what a racing drivers calls a fast lap
- a hypothesis is what a scientist calls a theory
- a “deli water bottle” is what a New Yorker calls a bottle of water purchased in a deli
- a player is what a woman calls a guy who doesn’t want to go out with her
- a “flea” is what a surgeon calls a pediatrician-in-training
- a calorie is what a physicist calls a kilocalorie
- a pressure ulcer is what a doctor calls a pressure sore
- A bulkhead is what a sailor calls a wall on a ship
- a jarpie is what an Aussie calls a saffie
I love the way these open up more questions. A Jarhead is a marine, but what’s a saffie?
Of course the web also turns up some staggeringly stupid examples, including A pessimist is what a realist calls an optimist, if I recall the quote correctly. Wuh?
Even just wondering how to map these three-way relationships (in which all three parts might be re-used) gives some interesting choices. So far, I think B works better than A. You learn more from it. To tell me which two people call the realist a cynic using A, you’d have to read all the labeled edges. B is much easier. I’m sure I’m missing some obvious alternative approaches here though.