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"This chick's playing with Confederate money."

It is from Seinfeld. Elaine said that when was trying to convince Jerry that some girl had fake breasts. How to decipher it?

There is probably an interplay between the words 'silicone' and 'silicon'. Maybe the Confederate States of America had something significant in the Silicon Valley.

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Could she have said "counterfeit", maybe? Counterfeit meaning fake, hence the fake breasts? –  Roger Mar 31 at 19:01
    
@Roger: Not the case. –  Graduate Mar 31 at 20:01
    
Confederate States abandoned 1865. California became a state in 1850 –  jack Mar 31 at 21:47
    
California sided with the North in the Civil War. But in any case, as Michael Martinez explains in his answer, this has nothing to do with the real answer to the question. BTW nobody talked about "Silicon Valley" until well after the Civil War. The name comes from the silicon used to make computer chips, and silicon-based computer chips were not invented until about 100 years after the Civil War. –  Jay Apr 1 at 16:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Has nothing to do with silicon or Silicon Valley. It refers to the fact that Confederate money became worthless after the Civil War. She is saying: just as Confederate money is not "real" money, so silicon breasts are not real breasts.

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Who could know better than someone who actually lives in the Silicon Valley :) –  Graduate Apr 1 at 8:07
    
Silicon Valley is named thus because of the manufacture of computer chips in the 1970s. It has nothing to do with plastic surgery. –  Michael Martinez Apr 1 at 17:30
    
I know. I thought there is a very subtle interplay between the words 'silicon' and 'silicone', which kind of connect Silicon Valley with silicone breasts :) –  Graduate Apr 1 at 17:37

Towards the end of the American Civil War, the Confederate States' dollar became nearly worthless due to massive inflation (similar to the phrase "not worth a Continental", stemming from the Revolutionary War, or the more recent hyperinflation in Zimbabwe).

A simple explanation (thanks Alicja Z) is that it's this inflation that she was referring to.

Another possibility: Being so worthless, you could almost say that the money had become fake. She could also be implying that the fakes are worthless, or not as valuable, as the real thing. If Roger's comment is correct and she said "counterfeit", this meaning of "fake" becomes more directly true.

Silicon Valley wasn't part of the Confederate States: Texas is as far west as the states of the nation had gone by that time. So it's very unlikely that this is the intended meaning.

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+1 But "not worth a Continental" goes back to the Revolutionary era, and referred to the dollar issued by the Continental Congress. –  StoneyB Mar 31 at 19:17
    
@StoneyB haha, apparently my brain stops after the third letter. I'll fix that... –  Tim S. Mar 31 at 19:23
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Hmm... What if the keyword here isn't fake but rather inflation? –  Alicja Z Mar 31 at 19:50
    
@AlicjaZ Ooh, very good point. I've added that as my first suggestion. –  Tim S. Mar 31 at 19:54
    
Confederate States abandoned 1865. California became a state in 1850 –  jack Mar 31 at 21:47

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