[Ads-l] circular firing squad

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 13 06:22:20 EDT 2017


Nice, Garson.

The specificity of "reform Democrats" suggests to me that the circular
concept had already been around.

But if it had been for very long, I think we'd see evidence of so clever an
idea.

JL

JL

On Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 12:54 AM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at ameritech.net>
wrote:

> Here's one from November 1978 that refers to an "Aggie firing squad" (the
> first term I heard for it):
>
> http://www.w5nor.org/ce/Low-Res/1978-09.pdf
>
> Neal
>
> > On Jul 12, 2017, at 11:18 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >
> > Great work, JL and Bill. Here is a slightly earlier instance of the idea.
> >
> > Date: June 28, 1972
> > Newspaper: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
> > Newspaper Location: St. Louis, Missouri
> > Article: Thorny Issues Sidestepped In Pro-McGovern Platform
> > Author: Lawrence E. Taylor (A Washington Correspondent of the
> Post-Dispatch)
> > Quote Page 2A, Column 1
> > Database: Newspapers.com
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > In short, as one committee member put it, "We refuted the joke that
> > when reform Democrats are told to organize a firing squad they stand
> > in a circle."
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 10:49 AM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
> > RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
> >> _Las Vegas [NM] Daily Optic_ Mar 23 1973 p 2 col 1 [Newspapers.com,
> Newspaperarchive.com]
> >> "It is imperative that if we do not integrate we must -- at the least
> -- synchronize our lives; otherwise we will form a circular firing squad in
> which members of the squad will kill all that is worthwhile within the
> circle  as well as themselves  in the crossfire."
> >>
> >> Newspapers.com has "firing squad in a circle" from 1975
> >> Newspaperarchive.com has "Polish firing squad in a circle" from
> 11/17/1973.
> >>
> >>> Not yet in OED.
> >>>
> >>> GB claims a 1983 ex., but I can't verify it.
> >>>
> >>> [1983 Allan Fotheringham _Look Ma - No Hands: An Affectionate Look at
> Our Wonderful Tories__ [Toronto: Key Porter] 89: There is no
> >>> discipline, no cohesion, merely a collection of individuals who march
> (out-of-step) to drummers hidden in the hills, beckoning the faithful to
> >>> form a firing squad in a circle.]
> >>>
> >>> 1984 David G. Broder, in _Plain Dealer_ [Cleveland] (Jan. 19) 38:
> Democrats form circular firing squad....Up here, it looked like the
> >>> Democrats were going back to their old habit of lining up the firing
> squad in a circle.
> >>>
> >>> The first time I encountered the concept was ca1977-78, during the fad
> for "Polish jokes." It was something like, "Where does a Polish firing
> >>> squad put the condemned man? In the middle of the circle."
> >>>
> >>> GB has a similar joke (with "Polish firing squad") from 1979.
> >>>
> >>> JL
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



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