On Christmas Eve, I’m reading the Facebook feed of someone I sorta know – she interviewed me by phone and e-mail for an article about education – and I come to this story You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent, a story about the Supreme Court’s “terrible—and dangerous—ruling” on the Fifth Amendment, a decision I hate. The presumption is that a “person of interest” need be versed in the nuances of law. Here’s the ruling in Salinas v. Texas in which “you remain silent at your peril,” as the SCOTUS blog recaps this.

But it couldn’t have been decided on THAT Monday because the Supreme Court takes cases, hears them in the fall and winter, and generally gives their decisions in the spring, as an old poli sci major should know. And, besides, this case sounds terribly familiar. As it turns out, the case had been decided in June, NOT December, of 2013.

In the somewhat heated FB discussion, someone wrote #latepass. I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary. The second definition is:

etymology: the verbal form of the phrase get a late pass and the term late pass
the act of informing one that a piece of information that he or she has presented as new and interesting is, in fact, old and already widely circulated
After Elliott posted about a Snopes article regarding the veracity of a picture of Ohio state sex offender Brian Peppers, Evan latepassed him by pointing out that a link to the article had already been posted, and the article discussed, months ago.

The first definition is similar except that it notes is as “late pass,” and is a noun.

So THAT’S what you call that phenomenon. Same day, I see this article: Bush’s Shrinking World: George W. Bush Cancels Europe Trip as Human Rights Lawyers Threaten Legal Action over Torture. I KNEW for certain that was an old story, from 2011, yet it was passed off as new info.

I’ve learned a new word, and am reminded to look at the DATE of cited info.

Picture swiped from Funnyjunk.com.

3 thoughts on “#latepass”

  1. If only I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen people post old stuff as if it was new… This is especially big on Twitter and Facebook, but annoying to me wherever it is. There’ a site – I’m sure you’ve seen it – Upworthy, which posts stuff that people are talking about on social media. But much of it is old, and none of their posts are dated, nor do they say when the item they’re sharing was first published. To me, all of this makes them the worst, not because they share old stuff as if it’s new, but because they suck others into doing that.

    I agree with Lisa – I always check the posting date, but with many sites (especially Upworthy), I have to trace back to the original post.

    A question, though: Do you think that we might tune out interesting and even important stuff just because it’s “old”? Or is it just that we all should be clearer that whatever we’re sharing isn’t “new”?


    1. Sure – and there is value in old (6 months, 60 years) stories, but not when it’s misleading as to when it took place. I see that a lot. I found, on FB, a whole bunch of people grieving Bob Denver’s “recent” death a couple years back – “end of an era” – when he’d died in 2005.


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