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Origin of that fish line

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pursuits Duluth, 55802
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

Part of the promotion for Northern Waters Smokehaus and its bike deliveries is the line “A fish needs a bicycle.” That’s a takeoff on the line made famous by feminist Gloria Steinem: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

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But Steinem does not take credit for the line. That goes to Irina Dunn, and Australian activist, filmmaker, politician and writer. Dunn wrote the line on bathroom doors while at Sydney University and a local bar in the early 1970s. She said she was riffing on an unnamed philosopher who once wrote “A man needs God like a fish needs a bicycle.”

“My inspiration arose from being involved in the renascent women’s movement at the time, and from being a bit of a smart-arse,” Dunn wrote.

“Dunn deserves credit for creating such a popular and durable spoof of the old idea that women need men more than vice versa,” Steinem wrote in clearing up the origins of the phrase.

The band U2 brought the line into the 1990s in the song “Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around the World.” Bono sings about his chances of holding onto a relationship with a woman who probably feels she doesn’t need him to make her life complete.

Not that Smokehaus is making any kind of statement. It’s just putting some fun backspin on a popular phrase for its popular fish.

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