[Ads-l] "Bullshit" ca1879

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 19 17:57:02 UTC 2017

> Perhaps not coincidentally, I see Bourke went on to write a book entitled,
> "Scatalogic [sic] Rites of All Nations."

(I'm using a different computer and quoting is *still* not working
properly. My apologies.)

OT: I've read  that book and it's really depressing. E.g., the author
writes of a group of Native Americans, in a losing effort to defend their
traditional religion - or should that read, "paganism"? - against forced
conversion to the One, True Faith by the Spanish, developed a scatologic
parody of the Mass in which they used dog shit in place of that strange,
"unleavened bread" for the Holy Eucharist. They even went to the extreme of
eating the dog shit in place of taking holy communion.

Till I read that, I'd been more-or-less under the opinion that, through the
grace of the Holy Ghost, these poor, benighted savages had all but begged
the heroic missionaries to confer upon them the blessings of Christianity
that lead to the Beatific Vision. Or to the eternal fires of hell. It

On Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 3:52 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 10:03 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> > HDAS includes an earlier bracketed entries from the 19th c., well
> > antedating the OED's earliest cites, the second of which is actually (as
> > Jon noted) for “Slap Jack Billy and bull dung Tommy"; I suppose the
> > “bullsh-t” in the 1866 cite from W. H. Jackson’s diary is bracketed
> because
> > it looks as though it’s literally referring to bullshit (“the manure of
> the
> > oxen, which ignites & burns readily", not to the sense of the word that
> > turned philosopher Harry Frankfurt into an eponymous best seller.  Unless
> > Jackson was presupposing a pun (“stentorian tones” and all).
> Thanks for pointing out the bracketed HDAS cites, Larry. One of them is
> from the diaries of John Gregory Bourke -- in his entry for Oct. 26, 1881,
> Bourke writes, "The town was then 'run' by a crowd of worthless, dissolute
> and reckless desperadoes, the principals among whom...might be said to be
> 'Slap Jack Billy, the Pride of the Pan Handle' and 'Bull Dung Tommy.'"
> (Based on other writings, I believe Bourke may have been talking about
> Tucson here.) "Slap Jack Billy" matches the Las Vegas, N.M. sources, but
> "Bull Dung Tommy"? I wonder if this was really Bull Shit Jack but Bourke
> got the name wrong (in addition to euphemizing the nickname). Or did Slap
> Jack Billy have more than one compatriot with a scatological sobriquet?
> Perhaps not coincidentally, I see Bourke went on to write a book entitled,
> "Scatalogic [sic] Rites of All Nations."
> https://archive.org/details/scatalogicriteso00unse
> --bgz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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