draining the swamp

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Fri Jan 4 15:26:43 UTC 2002

Then there was the NY State political faction of the 1840s called (by
others, probably) the Barnburners, in honor of the farmer who got rid
of the rats on his property by burning down his barn.

I also recall a couple of sports broadcasters bantering.  One said to
the other something to the effect "in order to get you out of high
school they had to set fire to the building."


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
Date: Friday, January 4, 2002 9:19 am
Subject: Re: draining the swamp

> I don't think one needs to refer to Mao or any other modern
> source; I think
> the metaphor is transparent. In order to suppress vermin (usually
> insects,I suppose, and probably snakes, etc.), one drains any
> nearby swamp. As long
> as there is a breeding-place, there will be vermin. I presume this
> was as
> true and as obvious several hundred years ago as it is now; I
> can't be sure
> how the ancient Egyptians looked at the subject, but it wouldn't
> amaze me
> if they had the same approach: if there's a swamp on your
> property, even if
> you have sufficient useful land aside from it, drain it if
> possible and
> minimize the bugs and varmints.
> -- Doug Wilson

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