Still pumpin' 'em out after all these years

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 6 14:27:21 UTC 2014

I bought a hoe at Home Depot four or five years ago. (No cracks.)

They had lots.

OTOH, if I were a big-city teen in an apartment, how  would I know what the
hell a "hoe" was? They don't talk about 'em in movies or sing about 'em in

Wilson, maybe your columnist was using the same logic as those people who
insist that two negatives *really* make a positive. Thus, a  / ho / is a
gardening implement and / dEsImet / means bumping off one in ten. Period.


On Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 2:47 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Still pumpin' 'em out after all these years
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 12:26 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at
> >wrote:
> > BTW, Roz Chast once published a cartoon strip about parents trying to
> > explain the poem, "The Man with a Hoe," to their teenager. You don't need
> > to see it because it practically rewrites itself.
> >
> Years ago, a (white) columnist complained in the Boston Globe of the new
> custom of referring to women as "gardening instruments."
> I'm still confused, after all these years, as to whether the writer was
> serious, displaying a breath-taking amount of white privilege or, in some
> sense, (s)he did but jest.
> Youneverknow.
> OTOH, could there really be a problem explaining that poem? Has _hoe_
> "gardening implement" truly been lost from the language? "Hoe" is now
> understood only as an attempt to reproduce the ordinary BE pronunciation of
> "whore" in writing? Does "backhoe" also have to be explained? Back in the
> day, authors used the spelling, "who'," with an apostrophe.
> But that was then.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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