[Ads-l] Early forms of "Never wrestle with a pig" (Was: Re: Aeschylus, G.B. Shaw at it again)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 6 17:36:22 UTC 2016


Does "If/When you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas" (a.k.a. "Qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent") come into play at some point?

LH

> On Jan 6, 2016, at 7:19 AM, Bonnie Taylor-Blake <taylor-blake at NC.RR.COM> wrote:
> 
> Now that we're only a few weeks away from the Iowa caucuses and the
> New Hampshire primary, I'm reminded of the wonderful "Never wrestle
> with a pig -- you could get dirty and the pig likes it," which has
> come up at least a couple of times here.  As Garson mentioned (see far
> below), Barry Popik has already researched this, tracing “Never wallow
> in the mud with a pig, because the pig likes it" to 1946.
> 
> A few less interesting variants from the end of the 19th century follow.
> 
> -- Bonnie
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------
> 
> DEAR SIR -- It has been remarked by a wise man that he who wrestles
> with a hog must expect to be spattered with filth, whether he is
> vanquished or not.  This maxim I have long known and appreciated;
> nevertheless, there are occasions when it must be disregarded.
> 
> [In "Communication," J. Frank Condon's letter to the editor (dated 29
> January 1872), The Cambria (Pennsylvania) Freeman, 3 February 1872, p.
> 3. Via Chronicling America.]
> 
> ----------------------
> 
> Mr. Thayer of Worcester renewed his argument against the sale.  He was
> particularly earnest against the bill, and opposed especially Mr.
> Brown of Boston, his parting shot being that he had heard that one
> should not wrestle with a pig, for he would be smeared, but he
> (Thayer) was not frightened from his course, and would inform the
> gentleman from Boston that he (Thayer) was not to be driven from the
> pen. [Laughter and applause.]
> 
> [From "The Legislature," The Boston Daily Advertiser, 3 March 1882, p.
> 2.  Via Gail NewsVault.]
> 
> ----------------------
> 
> "Oh, yes, I know I published a card concerning some of his past
> unsavory record, and intended at that time to lay a portion of his
> life before the public, but some of the best citizens in the town and
> county have consulted with me and I find that he is a mere nobody, and
> that neither himself nor his paper has any influence.  You know, if
> you wrestle with a hog you will become dirty, no matter whether you or
> the hog should gain the fall."
> 
> [From "The Temperance Lecturer Defines His Position," The Warren
> (Pennsylvania) Mail, 14 October 1884, p. 3.  Via
> newspaperarchive.com.]
> 
> ----------------------
> 
> I considered that we owed him a cent, but I realized that to quarrel
> with him would be like wrestling with a hog.  The association would be
> smeared whether it would throw the colonel or whether the colonel
> would throw it.
> 
> [From "Hits the Colonel; John Hoenschiedt Comes Back at Colonel
> Ellsworth," The Wichita Daily Eagle, 26 August 1896, p. 5.  Via
> Chronicling America.]
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------
> 
> On Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 11:37 PM, Garson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> 
>>> The same work improbably attributes the following to George Bernard Shaw (as
>>> do thousands of websites): "I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig;
>>> you get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."
>> 
>> Barry Popik's website has an excellent post from 2007 on this topic:
>> Never wrestle with a pig -- you get dirty and the pig likes it.
>> 
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.barrypopik.com_index.php_new-5Fyork-5Fcity_entry_never-5Fwrestle-5Fwith-5Fa-5Fpig-5Fyou-5Fget-5Fdirty-5Fand-5Fthe-5Fpig-5Flikes-5Fit_&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=WuH_0Apxju999JQ7kOW7rQ25XrYJl_k-RJoMsLnXvCc&s=pTXpFOR44YRO0CSkTflpIp3TfDr_yLI2bwqyVYUn_Cw&e= 
>> 
>> Short version: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__goo.gl_Wuaa9&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=WuH_0Apxju999JQ7kOW7rQ25XrYJl_k-RJoMsLnXvCc&s=PROvurKyuEDjSrvG4VfyyBF3FQDvodiadq3MWWl8scg&e= 
>> 
>> The most amusing precursor that I found for this expression concerns
>> another wrestling partner to avoid:
>> 
>> Cite: 1902 February 8, The Living Age, Biography, Page 330, Column 1,
>> Number 3005, [Littell, Son and Co.], Living Age Company, Boston.
>> (Google Books full view)
>> 
>> Or take the notable answer of Bolingbroke when it was suggested to him
>> that he should make some rejoinder to the virulent assaults of Bishop
>> Warburton: "I never wrestle with a chimney sweeper."
>> 
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__books.google.com_books-3Fid-3DqgQwAAAAYAAJ-26q-3Dwrestle-23v-3Dsnippet-26&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=WuH_0Apxju999JQ7kOW7rQ25XrYJl_k-RJoMsLnXvCc&s=Ekfptx2LxXsGHVR9PzqHIwo6TXF2q-DZqKfeAJr_F88&e= 
>> 
>> Garson
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=WuH_0Apxju999JQ7kOW7rQ25XrYJl_k-RJoMsLnXvCc&s=UvcV44shr7gbjpIR8xuSWw9wPPH3LbRtPyXn2LS_ELc&e= 

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