[Ads-l] Can't get elected "dog catcher"
bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 27 17:38:35 UTC 2017
As it happens, I was already planning on writing about the "dogcatcher'
insult for my Wall Street Journal column this week when I saw Peter's post.
I was glad I could rely on his impressive research, though I was only able
to incorporate a small fraction of what he turned up (and I know he has
more on the way!).
If paywalled, click on the link to the column on Twitter:
On Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 8:06 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Trump tweeted today, saying that Senator Corker could "not get elected dog
> catcher" in Tennessee.
> In 2002, Barry Popik posted here about the expression used in the New York
> Times in 1906<http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/
> He has the expression as early as 1889 on his website<https://www.
> I put a post on my blog today with earlier examples<https://esnpc.
> I found a precursor to the expression as early as 1831:
> Who he is I cannot learn; but he is probably some obscure citizen, or
> disappointed office seeker, who is willing even to be known as a
> dog-catcher, rather than not figure in the public prints.
> Boston Masonic Mirror, Volume 3, October 8, 1831, page 118.
> I found something nearly like the expression from 1851:
> “We see old whig doctrines trampled under foot, and new fashioned
> democracy, of the most ultra school substituted . . . . Upon my word,
> Messrs. Editors, neither of them could get my vote for the office of
> The Spirit of Democracy (Woodsfield, Ohio), July 30, 1851, page 3.
> And the familiar form by 1871.
> Handsome majorities were thus rolled up, and candidates who could not be
> elected to the position of “dog catcher” in any other country received an
> almost unanimous “count” at the hands of pliant election inspectors.
> The New York Herald, October 29, 1874, page 3.
> I also found "can't get elected pathmaster" as early as 1866, and a few
> examples in later years.
> They are politically dead forever. Neither of them could be elected
> pathmaster in their own school districts. Theirs is the ultimate fate of
> all Demagogues.
> The Representative (Fox Lake, Wisconsin), November 16, 1866, page 2.
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