Chicken Salad from Chicken Scratch

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Apr 1 14:38:06 UTC 2004

In a message dated  Tue, 30 Mar 2004 22:31:17 -0500, Duane Campbell
<dcamp911 at JUNO.COM> quotes

>  "Boys, I may not know much, but I know chicken shit from chicken salad."
>  LBJ talking about Nixon's Checkers speech, 24 September 1952.

I suspect this is not original with LBJ but rather is a variation on the
saying, "I'm just a country boy, but I still know bullshit when I meet it".  If I
remember correctly, this saying was quoted by H. Allen Smith in _Low Man on
the Totem Pole_

Another possibility is a variation on "tell shit from Shinola".  (Aside:
Herman Wouk could NOT tell shit from Shinola, or more exactly in _The Caine
Mutiny_ he consistently used "Shinola" in dialog where in real life the speaker
would say "shit".)

If LBJ coined this phrase, then he was misuing street English.  Lying or
fudging the truth is called "bullshit" not "chickenshit" which means "insistence
on enforcing petty regulations".

LBJ apparently was fond of excretory metaphors.

"Just you remember this:  There's only two kinds at the Whit House.  There's
elephants and there's pissants.  And I'm the only elephant."
LBJ to Bill Gulley, quoted in Bill Gulley with Mary Ellen Reese, _Breaking
Cover_ New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980, ISBN 0-671-24548-1, pages 44f.

"I'd rather have J. Edgar Hoover inside the tent pissing out than outside the
tent pissing in."

       - Jim Landau

More information about the Ads-l mailing list