Scrub Stock

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 24 22:42:57 UTC 2009

One of these days I will start using tinyurl for links, but I have not
done that yet. So here's the link in question.

Zachary Roth and the rest of TPM bloggers have taken Pat Buchanan to
task over a comment that includes the phrase "scrub stock".

Now, "scrub stock" sounds like something cattlemen would use to describe
the runt. Or, perhaps, this is a warehouse term for something that is to
be written off. In fact, these meanings would be normal between
1850-1950. However, Roth did a search and found that the last time NYT
used it was 1943. And prior to that, the phrase was used in eugenic
context quite freely.

Here's Buchanan's passage:

 >>"It is this part of America that does not comprehend how the
president could sit in Trinidad and listen to the scrub stock of the
hemisphere trash our country -- and say nothing."

The "part of America" that Buchanan refers to is the target of Obama's
"bitter" comments during last year's primary campaign--the same people
whom Buchanan describes as "Middle America [that] remains
blood-and-soil, family-and-faith, God-and-country kind of nation".

Roth found two interesting parallels. One was from a 1913 oped.

 >>The study of eugenics -- "the science relating to the development and
improvement of race" -- is attracting more attention than at any former
period. There is nothing new in it, except as we are now seeking to
apply to human interests and conditions the principles that have been
applied for generations to our flocks and herds -- our horses and cattle
and sheep and hogs and dogs. Scrub stock is always scrub stock. Like
produces like ... Fresh blood and good blood is needed for the
improvement of the human stock.

The other was from a 1997 book that describes a 1923 incident, citing
the Washington & Lee University President's response when the W&L
football team refused to play a Pennsylvania team that had a black player.

 >>In response to Northern critics of the episode, W&L President Henry
Louis Smith wrote that almost all white Southerners - "whose land is
swarming with negroes" - were against "amalgamation" of the races.
 >>If it were allowed, he said, "we would become a land of half-breeds
like Santo Domingo, Cuba, and Haiti. No farmer with a hundred registered
Jerseys on which his living depends could be more determined to avoid
amalgamation with hopeless half-wild scrub stock than the Anglo-Saxon
communities of the South."

Racism and antisemitism have been tools in Pat Buchanan's arsenal for
many years. He turned down the rhetoric a bit a replaced the more
ridiculous claims with not-so-subtle euphemisms when he decided to run
for presidential nomination as a Republican. But this turn of phrase is
new for me. I thought I'd bring it to your attention.

I have not done any significant searching on "scrub stock" yet, but I
was planning on doing it later tonight. I am sure others will have
something interesting to contribute on this subject.


The American Dialect Society -

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