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« Antisemitism: How Bad Is It? | Main | The funny ol' peace process and various other newsbits »

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Mannie Sherberg
This is an eloquent post, Yael, but the most eloquent part of all is the concluding "Feh!" -- which is really all the verbiage this guy deserves. I checked him out on Wikipedia -- where he's acclaimed as Tennessee's first Jewish congressman -- and noticed this evaluation of his oratorical style: "unusually straightforward and direct ... when compared to other Southern politicians." I think Wikipedia has it all wrong; his style -- judging from the excerpts you've given us -- isn't straightforward and direct so much as it is rabble-rousing, hell-raising, and tub-thumping. There's nothing new about this style among southern politicians; it's the style that made Huey Long one of the most powerful men in America during the Depression. In fact, there's a long line of Democrat demagogues who have used this kind of splenetic hate-speech. It used to be used to insult blacks; now it's being used -- by a Jew, no less -- to insult conservatives. You really did say it all in one word: Feh!
I confess, Mannie, that I originally wrote, "ugh," but I knew it didn't cut the mustard (I don't know, but you might, where that expression originates). And then I remembered "feh," which hits just the right note of contempt, without attributing too much importance to him. Now tell me, is there really such a thing as "tub-thumping"?
Mannie Sherberg
Yep. There really is. In the early days of the Republic, before politicians entered a small town to make a speech, they'd hire youngsters to walk down the main street and bang on a tub (or anything else that would make plenty of noise) and shout out news about the upcoming speech. This was one of the earliest modes of political advertising in our country. Ever since, any speech that's mostly bombast and noise is called a tub-thumper. There's an interesting similarity between the tub-thumping phrase and the Yiddish expression, "Hock meer nisht a chinik," which is usually directed by overwrought mothers at their annoying children, and roughly means "Stop driving me nuts," but more literally translates into "Don't bang on the kettle in my presence." In Eastern European shtetls -- where real toys were a rarity -- kids would entertain themselves by banging on tea kettles. When mom had had enough of that, she'd tell the kid to stop. The phrase soon became generalized into a warning that meant "Stop making a pest out of yourself" or "Shut up!" Wouldn't it have been wonderful if -- when Steve Cohen made his odious speech on the House floor -- someone sitting in the gallery had shouted out, "Hock meer nisht a chinik!" Just an old Yiddish way of saying, "Pipe down, you overgrown brat!"
Tom Glennon
Tub Thumping is an archaic expression, usually used in rural areas. It denotes a loud or vociferous speech advocating a position or specific point. Can also be used to describe angry speech or an argumentative posture. Now, I wonder why I know that? Too long in Iowa?
Mannie Sherberg
Tom -- it's not just Iowa. We've had -- and still have -- our share of tub-thumpers here in the Show-me State. In fact, "loud and vociferous" is a perfect description of many Missouri politicians. Not "effective," just loud and vociferous.
Caro Dick
(I wanted to send this to Mr. Cohen, but since I am not a constituent of his , it was not allowed on his contact form. Just needed to say something about what he did yesterday.) Mr. Cohen, As a fellow Tennessean, your rant on the floor of congress yesterday really embarrassed me and I don't feel that I am alone on this. Thankfully your are not my congressman, but that still does not diminish the fact that your speech on the floor was not civil in any shape, form or fashion. I will do everything in my power to convince those in your district that you are NOT the right man for the job. Carol Dick
R A Prentice
Hey Congressman...... In Obama's own words..... "I am a proponent of a single payer system"... Uh... I believe that means GOVERNMENT TAKE OVER OF HEALTHCARE YOU MORON! And you keep saying over and over again that is not what this is?????? So WHO is really using the "Goebbels" technique??? Maybe you were among all the Demwits who didn't read the bill but just "Rubber Stamped" it. If YOU want healthcare for everyone so bad then take your Hedge Fund Millions and donate them to buying healthcare for all your constituents.... Put your OWN money where your BIG MOUTH is!!!
Argumentative Essays
Where are they now, the new defenders of the faith <---- that's what i was looking for

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