It is trite to say that the world is so small that one can scarcely move in it without stepping on some one's toes; bat the statement becomes increasingly true in these days, and, after all, the truth is never trite. It appears that even so innocuous a phrase as "American legation" jars on the ears of much of the Western Hemisphere, and that the diplomats at Washington, anxious not to displease, have in recent time substituted for it such an expression as "the United States legation".
Thus the adjective American, as applied to the United States alone, has been officially outlawed; but only the most awkward terms have been found to replace it. United Statesian is a monstrosity, in spite of being logical. Some few Mexicans and Nicaraguans, not impressed by the brotherly attitude of their northern fellow-Americans, employ "Gringo" and "pig" in referring to them, but both of these fall short of being satisfactory. A New Englander suggests "Yankee", but Southerners consider this an insult. The vogue of "Uncle Shylock" abroad has been almost as short-lived as that of "Saviors of Democracy". The whole search for a satisfactory term ends in a vicious circle, with no solution as yet.
And so the government, realizing how much more importance is usually attached to injured dignity than to actual harm, is wise enough to sooth the cries from the Southward. But in the meantime Americans will doubtless continue to call themselves Americans, and Mr. Mencken's favorite column-heading need not for a while yield to a less euphonious name.