[Ads-l] "laws are like sausages"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 19 14:31:57 EDT 2017

Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
> A related and more (literally) pungent aphorism is frequently attributed
> to  Edouard Herriot (1872-1957): "La politique, c'est comme l'andouillette,
> ça doit sentir un peu la merde, mais pas trop.” Whether Herriot was the
> originator or not (perhaps it was a turn on the more familiar version,
> which Fred has traced in English version to 1869), it has the virtue of
> nodding to the public’s cynicism about the process.

There is an entry for a French precursor to the sausage remark on the
QI website:

One Would Risk Being Disgusted If One Saw Politics, Justice, or One’s
Dinner in the Making

[Begin excerpt]
In 1798 the periodical “L’Esprit des Journaux” printed material from
Chamfort’s pen that included the following item:

Un certain Marchand, avocat, homme d’esprit, disait: On court les
risques du dégoût en voyant comment l’administration, la justice & la
cuisine se préparent.

Here are two possible translations into English:

A clever lawyer named Marchand used to say, “It can be disgusting to
see what goes into public administration, justice, and food.”

A certain witty advocate, Marchand, observed: “One would risk being
disgusted if one saw politics, justice, and one’s dinner in the
[End excerpt]

The entry below has a slightly earlier citation for the sausage
quotation then the one given in the YBQ.

Laws are Like Sausages. Better Not to See Them Being Made


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

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