[Ads-l] "You [X] 'em, we [X-rhyme] 'em"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 5 13:20:52 EDT 2017

Here is an instance of "You stab 'em, we slab 'em" as a telephone
greeting in 1950. Also, the saying "You frag 'em, we bag 'em" appeared
in a 1979 play titled "G. R. Point" set in Vietnam in 1969.

Date: May 3, 1950
Newspaper: Alton Evening Telegraph
Newspaper Location: Alton, Illinois
Article: Upper Alton
Quote Page 25, Column 4
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
She had been left stuttering other times by such greetings by a cooly
indifferent voice, "Well, it's your nickel," and again a brisk
business-like voice, "So-and-So's Mortuary. You stab 'em, we slab
[End excerpt]

Date: April 19, 1979
Newspaper: Arizona Republic
Newspaper Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Article: Broadway: Vietnam story is humane, real
Author: Jay Sharbutt (Associated Press)
Quote Page F6, Column 1
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
G.R. — the initials mean Graves Registration — has a brilliant cast
headed by Michael Moriarty. David Berry, a Vietnam vet, wrote the
show, his first drama. It may earn him his first Tony award.

It's set in 1969, at a camp near Cambodia, in an Army quartermaster
unit that both runs a laundry and readies the bodies of GIs killed in
combat for their said, final trip back to "the World."

"You frag 'em, we bag 'em" is the callous, macabre motto of the unit's
hated sergeant...
[End excerpt]


On Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 12:40 PM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
> Funeral Home:  "You slay 'em, we lay 'em."
>> Back around 1980-81, I had a university acquaintance who would frequently answer with a selection from among these sayings:
>> "City Morgue: You kill 'em, we chill 'em!"
>> "City Morgue: You stab' em, we slab 'em!"
>> "Abortion Clinic: You rape 'em, we scrape 'em. No fetus can beat us."
>> Now I read in Hugh Gusterson's informative _Drone_ (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2016), p. 9, that,
>> "'You Track 'Em, We Whack 'Em,' is the informal motto of the team at the National Security Agency that collects and analyzes ... cell phone
>> data [that may serve to identify the whereabouts of prominent terrorists]."
>> Googling "You kill 'em, we chill 'em" turns up approx. one zillion instances of this pattern.
>> How far back can this black-humor genre be traced?
>> JL
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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