"hot dog"--Sam Clements' 1937, 1939 attestations

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sun Jun 6 21:26:36 UTC 2004

To add a new quote to the mix, and to try to convince people that the use of
the terms to refer to the bright young men who worked for Felix Frankfurter
was possibly a continuation of the "hot dog" term used about individuals in
the 1890's? and picked up again in sports in the 1950's and later, I offer
an earlier cite.

11 April 1934  _Monessen(PA) Daily Independent_   4/4 (Newspaperarchive)
>From the syndicated column called "National Whirligig"

<<If all the stories around town are true, Dr. Wirt got himself all hot and
bothered over the theories of a much newer group.
    This is the band of proteges that Dr. Felix Frankfurter planted in a
score of periscope positions in the New Deal.  Most of them are in Federal
legal divisions.  They answer to the name either of Young Liberals or Hot
Dogs.  They have pulled quite an oar in a more or less unobstrusive way.  In
many respects they're carrying on for the Brain Trust but they weren't in
the first draft.>>

I think they were being called "hot dogs" because of being given
responsibilities at a young age that in other times would have been given to
older hands.

Sam Clements

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gerald Cohen" <gcohen at UMR.EDU>
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: "hot dog"--Sam Clements' 1937, 1939 attestations

> Again, my thanks to Sam Clements and Douglas Wilson for their new
> "hot dog" attestations. Here now are my thoughts about Sam's material:
> 2) We must be careful about placing the "hot-dogger" attestations of
> the 1930's in the semantic context of 1890's "hot dog" (show off),
> for which there are no unambiguous attestations in the 1910's, '20's
> or '30's.
> The context for "hot dog(ger)" that we do find in the 1930s is one of
> inferior/second-rate boxers, with the term extended to movies,
> golfing (with shift of meaning to "as yet unknown golfers"), and
> probably baseball (with shift to "show-off"; truly inferior
> ballplayers are quickly released by professional teams). So
> "hot-dog(ger)" in the 1930s-1940s was becoming an all-purpose
> put-down, traceable ultimately to the departure of boxing fans to get
> hot dogs and other refreshments when the preliminary bouts (with
> their second-rate boxers) were underway.
> 3) The 1937 quote would fit the sense of a general put-down of
> s.o/s.th. as second-rate. Also, the connecting of the already
> existing "hot dog(ger)" (s.o./sth. inferior) with the Supreme-Court
> judge named (Felix) Frankfurter was no doubt too tempting to pass up.
> 4) The 1939 quote says: '...You had to look twice--sometimes three
> times--before you could believe that here was the sire of the brain
> trust, the "hot dogger" whose name has provoked such wrath in
> anti-New Deal circles.'). I believe that in calling Frankfurter a
> "hot dogger whose name has provoked such wrath in anti-New Deal
> circles," the writer is likening the judge to the incompetent boxers
> whose performance would evoke cries of "Throw the bum out." The focus
> here is not on Frankfurter the "sire (of the brain trust)"--which
> would suggest pomposity and hence "show-off") but Frankfurter the
> incompetent/the second-rate/the bum.
> ***
> At 10:23 PM -0400 5/29/04, Sam Clements wrote:
> >From: Sam Clements <SClements at NEO.RR.COM>
> >
> >Just to add to Doug's posts......
> >
> >I propose that he's correct, it is merely a continuation of the term that
> >existed many years before.  And I further propose that it was resurrected
> >apply to Felix Frankfurter and his protege's.
> >
> >There are fascinating cites from Newspaperarchive.
> >
> >1937-- "EXPERT--Another man frequently assailed as a "Roosevelt brain
> >truster" or a "Frankfurter hot-dogger" is Mordecai Ezekiel, chief
> >adviser of the department of agriculture."
> >
> >1939--"SHREWD--Felix Frankfurter has become almost a myth to the American
> >people, and like most fictitious characters he doesn't fit the popular
> >conception of himself at all.  He is not the pompous, professorial,
> >being he had been painted by enemies, not the saint of the cloisters his
> >worshipers make him out to be. <snip> You had to look twice--sometimes
> >times--before you could believe that here was the sire of the brain
> >the "hot dogger" whose name has provoked such wrath in anti-New Deal
> >circles."
> >
> >I think the 1950's? sports metaphor was only a continuation of Felix "hot
> >dog" Frankfurter.  His high profile perhaps brought the old term into use
> >again.
> >
> >SC
> Gerald Cohen
> >

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