[Ads-l] Throwing money at X

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Mon May 16 22:44:07 EDT 2016


Throw a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money.

JSB


      From: "Baker, John" <JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM>
 To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
 Sent: Monday, May 16, 2016 3:48 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Throwing money at X
   
Eighteenth century newspapers have many descriptions of wealthy or noble persons throwing money to crowds, in order to buy their allegiance, to enjoy the spectacle of poor people scrambling and fighting for the money, or both.  The earliest I see is from the Stamford Mercury, Dec. 31, 1719 (British Newspaper Archive), in what I take to be a reference to John Law's Mississippi Company bubble:  

    "We see here an Epigram printed in French, made upon Mr. Law's, for throwing Money out of a Window by Handfuls, to the Mob at Paris.  In English it is thus,
    Thou furious Scot, thou Magic Paper King,
    That Squanderest Golden Handfuls to the Mob,
    Well may'st thou thus, what cost thee nothing, fling,
    And Bribe the People, when thou couldst first rob:
    If e'er thy staggering Bank should chance to fail,
    Expect a Halter - as a just Entail."

So I think it likely a reference to this old practice, rather than stripping.  As for "throwing money at the problem," it's obviously much more recent.  The earliest I see is from the Troy (New York) Record, Dec. 5, 1961 (Newspaper Archive), quoting Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D - N.J.), questioning a recommendation for passenger train subsidies:  "Just throwing money at a problem . . . isn't enough" (ellipsis original).  

Both of these examples likely could be antedated.


John Baker


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Gail Stygall
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2016 2:57 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: Throwing money at X

I'll check it out. In the more recent political arena, I have it associated with conservatives tagging liberal programs as "throwing money at X problem" rather than stripping, but I realize that it the origin still could be primarily associated with stripping. Thanks.
Gail
__________________________________________________________________________
Gail Stygall, Professor
Department of English Language and Literature
Box 354330, University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-4330
<stygall at u.washington.edu>
________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, 16 May 2016, Benjamin Torbert wrote:

> I'm sure I don't know, but that World According to Carp (sic) cartoon was
> making fun of liberals using the phrase as early as the 1980s. A guy had a
> flat tire and was tossing bills at it. The caption made it explicit. The
> collection is in a book that might be in my 77yo father's basement.
> On May 16, 2016 1:45 PM, "Gail Stygall" <stygall at u.washington.edu> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:      American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:      Gail Stygall <stygall at U.WASHINGTON.EDU>
>> Subject:      Throwing money at X
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> I have been observing a debate in a political arena in which a number of
>> women are claiming that the street theater Billionaires for Bush act
>> of throwing money cannot be used in the context of a women candidate.
>> Specifically, several women on a political blog are saying that
>> throwing dollars at people arriving at the George Clooney fundraiser for
>> Hillary Clinton was doubly insulting because the expression
>> had a primary association with throwing money at strippers. That wouldn't
>> have been my first thought but I really don't know the origin
>> of "throwing money at X." Anyone here know the origins of the terms? Any
>> leads will be much appreciated.
>> Gail Stygall
>> __________________________________________________________________________
>> Gail Stygall, Professor
>> Department of English Language and Literature
>> Box 354330, University of Washington
>> Seattle, WA 98195-4330
>> <stygall at u.washington.edu>
>> ________________________________________________________________________
>>
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>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
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> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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