When WASPS use acronyms like NOCD, PLU, and WOG—which they do—what the hell do they mean? Thank God for Jamie Johnson, double agent for the rich! He was born one of them, a Johnson & Johnson heir, but reports back regularly from the front lines of old money in Vanity Fair (and his documentary Born Rich, which many old-monies didn't take kindly to.) The most recent installment: secret WASP code acronyms! What's the real meaning of a "Hawaiian"?
Wasps have even developed their own code words to help differentiate themselves from non-Wasps while at the same time avoiding accusations of classism or bigotry. Some of the terms are appropriated from elite British culture, but the origins of others are difficult to determine.[ Vanity Fair Online]
Acronyms like N.O.C.D. and P.L.U. are used to mean Not Our Class, Dear and People Like Us. W.O.G. refers to Wealthy Oriental Gentleman or Wise Oriental Gentleman, depending on whom you ask for a definition. "Hawaiian," "Canadian," and "Eskimo" all have special meaning as well. I was told by one Palm Beach resident that Hawaiian refers to anyone who pronounces the phrase "how are you" as "how ahhh yaaa" (they are howahhhyaaa-n, or Hawaiian). Another Wasp told me that, at the establishment-incubating St. Paul's School in the early 1960s, Hawaiian was used to refer to anyone who was considered "trash." To say that someone is Canadian can mean that they are Jewish, and Eskimo that they are African American.
[Photo: Alix Smith]