Duck Soup

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Thu Sep 5 19:50:47 UTC 2002

In a message dated 9/5/02 3:37:31 PM, george.thompson at NYU.EDU writes:

<< According to Leonard Zwilling, A TAD Lexicon, (publ. by Gerry Cohen in
1993,) it illustrated a cartoon captioned "In the Police Court", showing a
man "juggling a bottle, pitcher, plate and salt shaker" with the words "Duck
soup".  Original source was the Sazn Francisco Bulletin, July 5, 1902. >>

What in the world did this cartoon mean? What is the difference between
"illustrated" and "captioned"?

I've been thinking about my earlier satirical rejection of the speculation
that DUCK SOUP might be related to DUCK SHOOT, and, while I still don't see
any reason to connect SOUP with SHOOT specifically, I do wonder how old is
the metaphor SITTING DUCKS is--it doesn't seem totally impossible that
somebody might have concluded that DUCK SOUP would be easy to make if there
were sitting ducks around. The trouble with such speculation is that--even on
the unlikely chance that this really DID happen this way--it is probably
totally unverifiable. But maybe one place to look would be to look for
"sitting duck" cites; at any rate, this is probably no less likely to turn up
something that would looking at early 20th century duck-hunting manuals.

This is turning into something of a personal crusade for me, since an hour or
so after I made my last posting on this my psychotherapist said to me, "That
should be as easy as duck soup. [pause] By the way, Mr. Linguist, where does
that phrase come from?"

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