A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 06, 2019
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly)

"KISS” (also called the “KISS principle” or “KISS system") usually stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Like the harmless kiss, the KISS principle—used in the military, business and government—holds that the simple method is the most preferred. The Navy instituted a “Project KISS” in 1960.

The first “KISS” citation, however, appears in print in the Rocky Mount (NC) Sunday Telegram on May 4, 1958, and does not appear to be related to the military.

“Keep It Short and Simple” was printed in the Minneapolis (MN) Star in 1938 and The Wall Street Journal in 1948. “KISS Keep It Short and Simple” was printed in The Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) on November 6, 1970.

“Keep It Simple Silly” was printed in the Alamogordo (NM) Daily News on September 19, 1971.

“Keep It Simple, Sweetie” was printed in the Sunday Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI) on November 4, 1973.

“Keep it Small and Simple” was printed in The Sunday Freeman (Kingston, NY) on May 23, 1976.

“Keep It Stupid, Simple” was printed in The Daily Oklahoman/Times (Oklahoma City, OK) on November 2, 1984.

“Keep It Simple and Straightforward” was posted on the newsgroup soc.culture.china on November 4, 1992.


Wikipedia: KISS principle
KISS, an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” or “keep it stupid simple”, is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase has been associated with aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson. The term “KISS principle” was in popular use by 1970. Variations on the phrase include: “Keep it simple, silly”, “keep it short and simple”, “keep it simple and straightforward”, “keep it small and simple”, or “keep it stupid simple”.

Origin
The acronym was reportedly coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, among many others).

While popular usage has transcribed it for decades as “Keep it simple, stupid”, Johnson transcribed it as “Keep it simple stupid” (no comma), and this reading is still used by many authors.

Historical Dictionary of American Slang
KISS interj. Orig. Mil. keep it simple, stupid! Joc.
1971 Rowe Five Years to Freedom 120 [ref. to 1963]: The old “KISS” formula, “Keep it simple, stupid,” served as my guide as I built the biography.
1975 Univ. Tenn. student: KISS—Keep It Simple, Stupid! I learned that in the army [a 1970].
1977 Langone Life at Bottom 203: Used to have what we call the KISS System. Which means, Keep It Simple, Stupid.
1980 Time (May 12) 33: The complex mission violated an old Army rule we called KISS, meaning “Keep it simple, stupid.”

Newspapers.com
2 December 1938, Minneapolis (MN) Star, pg. 20, col. 1:
Keep It Short and Simple
(Editorial.—ed.)

16 February 1948, The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY),’"Simple Solutions” (editorial), pg. 4, col. 1:
Nothing complicated, please. Keep it short and simple.

13 November 1948, The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY), “Unions Expect to Have Big Voice in Shaping Taft-Hartley Substitute” by Philip Geyelin, pg. 1, col. 6:
“Keep it short and simple.”

That’s the advice President Truman is getting about the terms of a new 1949 labor law.

Newspapers.com
4 May 1958, Rocky Mount (NC) Sunday Telegram, “Feet on the Desk” by Pete Ivey, pg. 1B, col. 7:
CHAPEL HILL—Signs with the single word, KISS, are being tacked up on walls in offices and other places of business, it was explained here last week by James Webb of Greensboro.

A variation of the sign, THINK, popularized some years ago, the new placard takes on tantalizing undertones in the techniques of hidden persuasion.

What could the word KISS mean? Secretaries asked one another over their morning cokes and coffee. Office boys made wisecracks. Supervisors and executives of junior and senior grades, including vice-presidents, were puzzled by the banner with the strange device, reminiscent of the boy who bore the sign “Excelsior”.

The mystery continued until one day, said Mr. Webb, the public relations director of the firm decided to find out once and for all what the word meant. he asked the boss point blank, “What do the four letters, K-I-S-S mean?”

“Keep It Simple, Stupid,” replied the boy.

23 July 1958, Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), pg. 4, col. 1:
K-I-S-S
(Rocky Mount Telegram)
Signs with the single word, KISS, are being tacked up on walls in offices and other places of business, it was explained here last week by James Webb of Greensboro.

A variation of the sign, THINK, popularized some years ago, the new placard takes on tantalizing undertones in the techniques of hidden persuasion.

What could the word KISS mean? Secretaries asked one another over their morning cokes and coffee. Office boys made wisecracks. Supervisors and executives of junior and senior grades, including vice-presidents, were puzzled by the banner with the strange device, reminiscent of the boy who bore the sign “Excelsior”.

The mystery continued until one day, said Mr. Webb, the public relations director of the firm decided to find out once and for all what the word meant. he asked the boss point blank, “What do the four letters, K-I-S-S mean?”

“Keep It Simple, Stupid,” replied the boy.

22 October 1959, New York (NY) Times, pg. 42:
HYPNOSIS SHOWN
TO DOCTORS HERE
Techniques Called Useful in
Mitigating Pain—Role of
patient Is Underscored

By MORRIS KAPLAN
(...)
These techniques need not involve elaborate showmanship—the silk hat, the cutaway coat—he said. “I use the KISS technique—that is, Keep it Simple, Stupid.”

4 December 1960, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Washington Scrapbook” by Walter Trohan, pg. 43:
Rear Adm. Paul D. Stroop, chief of the Navy’s Weapons Bureau, has instituted “Project KISS” to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of the military gadgets his organization produces.

KISS stands for “Keep it simple, stupid.”

13 February 1961, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 19, col. 1:
The Navy has come up with a new code word for red tape papers. Nowadays, a naval office worker may receive a document with the word “KISS” on it.

IT DOESN’T mean what you think it means—it means, in Navy parlance, “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”

8 November 1964, Washington (DC) Post, “This Morning With Shirley Povich,” pg. C3:
When Ara Parseghian was coaching at Northwestern he mystified his assistants by writing his coaching philosophy on the blackboard in four letters, “KISS.” Then he explained its meaning: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

Newspapers.com
6 November 1970, The Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), pg. 28, col. 2 classified ad:
KISS
Keep It Short and Simple. That’s our philosophy and it has worked wonders for us. So here goes: experienced and hungry salesmen wanted.

Newspapers.com
19 September 1971, Alamogordo (NM) Daily News, “Uptown an’ Downtown” with Maureen Black, pg. 12, col. 1:
For daytime styling (Michael—ed.) Effler said he followed the “KISS system” ... Keep It Simple Silly.

9 February 1972, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. B1, col. 4:
Mrs. Ruth Brent of Downey offers a “kiss” for almost everyone who needs one—bachelors, busy housewives, career women, senior citizens, boaters, travelers.

“KISS” is what she calls her newly published book, “Keep It Short and Simple,” which she discussed at the luncheon meeting yesterday of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Fresno County Medical Society at the Airport Marina.

Newspapers.com
4 November 1973, Sunday Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI), pg. D-11, col. 3 classified ad:
KISS…
Means Keep It Simple, Sweetie.
(Loehning.—ed.)

Newspapers.com
23 May 1976, The Sunday Freeman (Kingston, NY), “Tips Offered for Home Gardeners,” pg. 5, col. 6:
If gardening is a new undertaking, for the new year think KISS—Keep it Small and Simple.

Newspapers.com
2 November 1984, The Daily Oklahoman/Times (Oklahoma City, OK),"Thank Your Legislators” (commentary), pg. S4, col. 7:
They will avoid legislators who get things confused and backward, ending up twisting an old acronym of “KISS” into “Keep It Stupid, Simple.”

Google Groups: soc.culture.china
You Cannot Learn from Geshu ...
Sanyee Tang
11/4/92
(...)
Let’s have a KISS—Keep It Simple and Straightforward.

Newspapers.com
25 August 2004, Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), “Health checkup: Keep it simple” by Elizabeth Kelly, pg. 3C, col. 6:
A phrase we often hear is, “Keep it simple, stupid.” I prefer, “Keep it simple and straightforward.”

Newspapers.com
19 June 2005, The Advertiser (Lafayette, LA), “What is the KISS principle?,” pg. 1D, col. 1:
A euphemistic explanation of “Keep It Simple and Straight-forward” is also used. Another, gentler explanation is “Keep It Simple, Sweetie.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, November 06, 2019 • Permalink