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 12, 2019
“So, sue me!”

"So, sue me!” means, essentially, “That’s it. I’ve done/said all I can do/say. What are you going to do about it? If you want more, take me to court.” The statement is usually made after something such as a personal opinion, where there can be disagreement but where an actual lawsuit is not expected.

“Say, if that’s so, sue me for $20, won’t you, and give me the other $10” was printed in a story in the New York (NY) Times on October 19, 1902, and the story was frequently reprinted. It’s not known if this is related to the saying, or influenced it.

“So de Mayor sad, ‘Noo, so sue me in de coit’” was printed in the syndicated column “Nize Baby” by Milt Gross, and appeared in the Cincinnati (OH) Post on October 25, 1926. This is using the Yiddish word “nu” and means, translated, “So the Mayor said, ‘Nu, so sue me in the court.’” The Yiddish word “nu”—it rhymes with “sue”—means “well” or “so” in this context. Bronx-born cartoonist Milt Gross (1895-1953) either coined or popularized the expression.

“So...Sue Me!” was the title of an advertisement in the Tacoma (WA) News Tribune on November 1, 1945. This indicates national use of the expression.

The song “Sue Me” in the musical Guys and Dolls (1950), with music and lyrics by New York-born Frank Loesser (1910-1969), contains the lyrics: “So nu/ So sue me, sue me/ What can you do me?/ I love you.” The Yiddish word “nu” (here in 1950) is the same word that Milt Gross used in 1926.

“(Don’t) Make a federal case out of it” is a similar expression.


Wikipedia: Guys and Dolls
Guys and Dolls is a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It is based on “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure”, which are two short stories by Damon Runyon, and also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories – most notably “Pick the Winner”.

The show premiered on Broadway in 1950, where it ran for 1,200 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical has had several Broadway and London revivals, as well as a 1955 film adaptation starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.
(...)
Composer and lyricist Frank Loesser specifically wrote “Sue Me” for Sam Levene and structured the song so he and Vivian Blaine never sang their show stopping duet together; the son of a cantor, Sam Levene was fluent in Yiddish: “Alright, already, I’m just a no-goodnick; alright, already, it’s true, so nu? So sue me.” Frank Loesser felt “Nathan Detroit should be played as a brassy Broadway tough guy who sang with more grits than gravy. Sam Levene sang “Sue Me” with such a wonderful Runyonesque flavor that his singing had been easy to forgive, in fact it had been quite charming in its ineptitude.”

Genius (lyrics)
Sue Me
Frank Loesser
Featuring Nathan Lane, Faith Prince, Vivian Blaine & 2 more
Album Guys and Dolls (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

(...)
[NATHAN]
Alright, already, I’m just a no-goodnick!
Alright, already, it’s true
So nu
So sue me, sue me
What can you do me?
I love you

YouTube
Guys And Dolls: “Sue Me”
Jun 11, 2016
krystyanberlin8
307 subscribers
Ausschnitt aus dem Musical “Guys and Dolls” mit Faith Prince und Nathan Lane.

19 October 1902, New York (NY) Times, “The Man in the Street,” Magazine Supplement, pg. 2, col. 1:
“Here the fellow came up close to me and said: ‘Say, if that’s so, sue me for $20, won’t you, and give me the other $10.’”

25 October 1926, Cincinnati (OH) Post, “Nize Baby” by Milt Gross, pg. 2, col. 3:
So de Mayor sad, “Noo, so sue me in de coit.”
(This is using the Yiddish word “nu” and means, translated, “So the Mayor said, ‘Nu, so sue me in the court.’”—ed.)

30 July 1927, Richmond (IN) Palladium and Sun-Telegram, “Sold to the Gentleman with the Black Goatee!” by O. O. McIntyre, pg. 7, col. 2:
(O. O. McIntyre wrote about New York City and his syndicated column was called “New York Day by Day.”—ed.)
At the moment I cannot think of a really prominent writer who is living in Greenwich village. If I am wrong, all right—sue me.

Newspapers.com
26 June 1929, Tampa (FL) Morning Tribune, “Max Picked to Win Knockout Over Paulino” by Damon Runyon, pg. 13, col. 3:
NEW YORK, June 25.—(Universal Service.)—Herr Max Schmeling to win by knockout over Senor Paulino Uzcudun, inside of 12 rounds.

Such is the prophecy of this prophet.

If I am wrong, sue me.

6 May 1931, Variety, “Vaudeville: Speaking of Wives, Glason Tells Of Differences, as He Sees Them” by Billy Glason, pg. 34, col. 3:
The arrangement for “Smile a Little Bit” with material in its proper form as I sing it, was written by me, so sue me!

23 November 1934, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “Secret Agent X-9” comic strip by Dashiell Hammett, pg. 24, col. 3:
WELL, YOU CAN’T FIRE ME—I’M QUITTING—AND I’M REVERSING THE CHARGES ON THIS CALL—SO SUE ME!

31 December 1941, Miami (FL) Herald, “Royal Pam Scores a Hit” by Dorothy Dey, pg. 1-B, col. 2:
This is a hit revue and if you don’t think so sue me.

28 February 1942, Evansville (IN) Press, “Going Places” with Ernie Pyle, pg. 4, col. 6:
That’s all. Now go take a look if somebody has stolen your tires while you’ve been reading this. If so, sue me in 1947.

17 January 1944, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Behind the Mike” with William Moyes, pg. 7, col. 4:
I don’t make any money in this army, so sue me, along with Janina Venable.

1 November 1945, Tacoma (WA) News Tribune, pg. 28, col. 1 ad:
“So...Sue Me!”
(Tacoma Hairdressers Association.—ed.)

10 July 1947, The Jewish Advocate (Boston, MA), “Summer Session” by Bernie Garber, pg. 6, col. 1:
Got to see “Annie Get Your Gun”...either Ethel Merman was tired or I was or the songs are now too old...not as good as Oklahma by far...so sue me!

29 January 1948, The Jewish Advocate (Boston, MA), “Gene Dennis Days...,” pg. 7, col. 2:
All of which may finally tell whether you can get blood out of a ‘Rock. (So sue me because it should have said ‘stone’!)

OCLC WorldCat record
So Sue Me! The Story of a Community Court
Author: David N Smith; James Yaffe
Edition/Format: Article Article
Publication: Harvard Law Review, v87 n8 (197406)

OCLC WorldCat record
“And, like a fool, I said, ‘So sue me.’” : cartoon for The New Yorker
Author: Henry Martin; Melvin R Seiden; Janine Luke
Publisher: 1987.
Edition/Format: Image : Original artwork : Picture : English
Summary:
Homeless bum speaks to businessman as they sit on a park bench.

OCLC WorldCat record
So sue me! : cartoons on the law
Author: Sidney Harris
Publisher: New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University, ©1993.
Edition/Format: Print book : English
Summary:
This paperback edition of M.I.A. or Mythmaking in America adds major new material about Ross Perot’s role, the 1991-1992 Senate investigation, and illegal operations authorized by Ronald Reagan. “A calm and thoughtful book on a firestorm of a subject.... Intelligent, provocative, and courageous."” - Kirkus Reviews

Urban Dictionary
so sue me
Just what are going to do about it?
I’m an American, so sue me.
#what are you going to?#there’s nothing you can do#like complaining will do anything#you can’t stop me#sue me
by Light Joker March 05, 2006

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Tuesday, November 12, 2019 • Permalink