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A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Entry: 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It - A87985985
Author: Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China - U1590784

This is a long shaggy-dog story, but the trip is necessary to answer the question which I asked myself last week, which was, 'Where did the expression 'Let George do it' come from?' I hope you think it's worth the trip.

I went on and stuck some pictures in, because I knew where the Library of Congress kept them.

smiley - dragon


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

Excellent - expressions and 'catphrases' (mangled expressions) are fascinating indeed, and I like how you use the one phrase to bring together various threads of history. It is not a phrase I have encountered before, so I learned a lot smiley - ok

A minor point is that you could write Oxford English Dictionary (OED) at the first mention, so you can use the abbreviation later.

The Entry seems to end on a bit of a strange note - there are four mentions that the SPCSCPG was humorous, so is that saying it was mostly harmless, or hinting that it was not?

smiley - ok


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 3

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Thanks, Sasha - I'll do with with (OED).

smiley - yikes No, I meant that it definitely wasn't harmless, and that they thought they were funny, but weren't. I shall go back and see if that's open to misinterpretation.


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 4

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Okay. All the 'fun' part except for in the letter is in scare quotes. There's a parenthetical 'ha,ha'. I'm hoping even the internet can recognise that much sarcasm when it sees it.


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 5

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

Ah, thank you - that clarifies indeed. I didn’t realise that the group was offended by sharing their name with the Pullman Porters’ enforced name - the group’s title sounded like they were allies...


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

smiley - eureka That makes sense! Thanks a lot for helping me clarify.

I can give us a headache smiley - headhurts trying to think down to the level of some of these nitwits of the past.

And we're not alone - I've found online people defending them, even claiming they helped change the rules. Not so.

The man that started the club was known for starting other 'funny' clubs. Call him an 'influencer', if you will. smiley - rolleyes


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 7

Bluebottle

George Pullman took advantage of recently freed slave labour by initially not paying his porters and instead expecting them to live off tips, with attendants often on duty for 24 hours or more at a time and forbidden from sleeping. Apparently passengers would often rip notes in half, give one half to a porter and promise that they would give the other half only if they got exceptional service. There are reports that the porters would often reply to calls of George, 'George not on the train today'.

'Railways in the African American Experience' by Theodore Kornweibel Jnr quotes Pullman as saying that '[black porters] were by nature adapted faithfully to perform their duties under circumstances which necessitate unfailing good nature, solicitude and faithfulness'.

Yet for all the patronising racism porter jobs were sought after and often passed down through families, with sons following fathers into the job and recommending their relatives.

<BB<


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 8

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

All true, BB! As WEB DuBois and Daniel Murray, Assistant Librarian at the Library of Congress documented at the Paris Exposition of 1900, African Americans made their way in US society by just such perseverance as putting up with George Pullman.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exhibit_of_American_Negroes

A Philip Randolph (April 15, 1889 – May 16, 1979) was a wonder. smiley - smiley He got FDR to use an executive order to ban racial discrimination in war plants, then got Truman to use one to desegregate the military, and finally led the 1963 March on Washington.


A87985985 - 'Let George Do It': A Phrase, and the Stories Behind It

Post 9

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Very interesting Entry! smiley - smiley


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