"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.

  • Could she have said "counterfeit", maybe? Counterfeit meaning fake, hence the fake breasts? – Roger Mar 31 '14 at 19:01
  • @Roger: Not the case. – Graduate Mar 31 '14 at 20:01
  • Confederate States abandoned 1865. California became a state in 1850 – user5432 Mar 31 '14 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 '14 at 16:26
  • 1
    Isn't anyone who has read this question enough of a Seinfeld fan to know that Elaine is prone to mispronunciations and malapropisms? You're all overanalyzing this. She meant "counterfeit." The woman she's talking about is bringing something fake to the "dating game" just like a gambler playing poker with counterfeit money. – dodgethesteamroller Oct 8 '15 at 17:50

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 silicone breasts are not real breasts.

| improve this answer | |
  • Who could know better than someone who actually lives in the Silicon Valley :) – Graduate Apr 1 '14 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 '14 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 '14 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.

| improve this answer | |
  • +1 But "not worth a Continental" goes back to the Revolutionary era, and referred to the dollar issued by the Continental Congress. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 31 '14 at 19:17
  • @StoneyB haha, apparently my brain stops after the third letter. I'll fix that... – Tim S. Mar 31 '14 at 19:23
  • 4
    Hmm... What if the keyword here isn't fake but rather inflation? – Alicja Z Mar 31 '14 at 19:50
  • @AlicjaZ Ooh, very good point. I've added that as my first suggestion. – Tim S. Mar 31 '14 at 19:54
  • 1
    I think the meaning is just "fake", since following the end of the American Civil War the money would have been worthless (inflation or no). – Charles Mar 31 '14 at 22:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.