Laws and Sausage

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 13 03:21:48 UTC 2008

At 9:03 PM -0600 1/12/08, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
>Barry sent the message below to a select group of ads-lers, and I
>now forward it to the entire list.  Btw (independent of Barry's
>message), we know that the making of sausages could be unsavory in
>19th century USA (dogs, cats, rats), but did these scandals also
>occur in Germany?  If the making of sausages in Germany was free of
>the scandals that sometimes plagued the US, Bismarck probably had no
>reason to make a disparaging remark about sausages. I.e., perhaps he
>never made it..
>Gerald Cohen

I always assumed the unsavory part had more to do with which body
parts of the beasties (pig, cow, sheep, whatever) were used to fill
up the sausage, and not necessarily with anything as extreme as the
choice of beasties.  I'm sure the unmentionable body parts would have
been used in Germany, Scotland, China, or wherever; a sausage skin
hides a multitude of...whatever.


>From: Bapopik at [mailto:Bapopik at]
>Sent: Sat 1/12/2008 7:01 PM
>Subject: Fwd: Laws and Sausage
>In a message dated 1/12/2008 5:50:13 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>sarokin at GMAIL.COM writes:
>         As to the Law and Sausages query, the earliest mention I can
>find of it dates back to an 1891 article in the Washington Post.  No
>mention of Bismarck, although (coincidentally?), the setting is
>US-German honorary dinner, and is during Bismarck's time.
>I don't quite know what's going on. I posted on this quite a while
>ago. It's in the Yale Book of Quotations from April 22, 1869, but it
>can be taken back further to April 1, 1869.
>The Yale Book of Quotations - Page 86
>by Fred R. Shapiro - Reference
>- 2006 - 1104 pages
>22 Apr. 1869: "Saxe says in his new lecture: 'Laws, like sausages, cease to
>inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made. ...
>1 April 1869, Dubuque (Iowa) Daily Herald, pg. 3, col. 3:
>John G. Saxe says that "laws, like sausages, cease to inspire
>respect in proportion as we know how they are made."
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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