[Ads-l] Question from family member

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 23 15:55:49 EST 2016

It sounds like a vaudeville joke, and it may be, but the two earliest examples that I could quickly fine were both by the same author in books published "with the approval of" the Boy Scouts of America.

1917: "Tom Slade at Temple Camp", mentioned in in the post Ben Zimmer linked to.

1920: "Roy Blakely: His story, being the true narrative of his adventures and those in his troop".  The author used the expression again in "Roy Blakely's Bee-Line Hike" in 1922.

I don't see it in newspapers and magazines until 1921, and then, only a few hits, frequently in relation to sports - golfers, football players, hockey goalies and boxers - who preen for the audience instead of playing hard, and also used to describe bad movie acting with too much unnatural posing.

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 12:04:33 PM
Subject: Re: Question from family member

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: Question from family member

It evidently stems from a vaudeville-era joke making fun of someone
standing around, staring and doing nothing. When it appeared on the HBO
show "Boardwalk Empire," Angela Tung wrote about it on the Wordnik blog and
provided a cite from 1917 ("Tom Slade at Temple Camp").


On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 2:22 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> =E2=80=A6that I had to admit I couldn=E2=80=99t answer, even with the hel=
p of my usual
> e-sources:
> What=E2=80=99s the origin of =E2=80=9Cpose for animal crackers=E2=80=9D, =
as in [said to someone
> not doing anything in particular] =E2=80=9CWhat are you (doing), posing f=
or animal
> crackers?=E2=80=9D  It=E2=80=99s not one I=E2=80=99d ever heard, but the =
cousin-in-law who asked me
> is from Wisconsin, if that=E2=80=99s relevant.  There are hits on the int=
ernet, but
> nothing that I saw provides the origin.

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