One of my many pet peeves is hearing the term “First World” throw around incorrectly. I think it is because I was an International Relations major that I give a damn. I cringe when I hear it used incorrectly, but now I am cringing a lot more.
Here’s the entry for First World in Wikipedia:
Recently there is an internet meme going around called “First World Problems,” which is about about whining by the affluent. Now the term is taking on a whole new life.
Here’s an example: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/first-world-problems
Here is a site about “White Whine”: http://whitewhine.com/
The general ignorance of the term “First World” is probably due to the fact that it is a relic of the Cold War. However, it chaffs me even more to hear people refer to Asian countries like China and Taiwan as third world. I even read a popular baby book refer to countries that practice co-sleeping (as practiced in Hong Kong and Japan) as a practice from third world countries! Seriously, even the dictionary.com definitions for First World, Second World, and Third World are all screwy.