September 16, 2008

"The Intent was to paint a Picture of Mrs. Palin in the Mind of the Audience as a Sow. Such a crude Jape..."

After my weekend jaunt to Hilton Head Island, I've got so many unread comments to review for spam and other delete-able things. I enjoy reading the good comments too, but it's really hard when I've fallen behind. I'm trying to catch up right now, moving quickly through the backlog, but I've got to stop and savor this one: another visitation from our ghost commenter Sir Archy.

It's back here, on "Enough with the pigs, fish, snakes, and lambs... here come the wolves!"
To Professor Althouse.

Dear Madam,

As the Ghost of a Gentleman, dead these 260 Years & more, you may imagine the Insults & Calumnies to which I have been witness. Nothing more stabs the Conscience, and arouses tender Feelings of Sympathy in a gallant Gentleman, than Slanders & Libels direct'd without Justice against a Member of the Fair Sex, especially if Comparisons be made with Beasts.

Mr. Obama's late Jest upon Pigs in a Political Oration would at first appear to be such a thing. The careful Observer will see, however, only a small Slander grown out of Proportion. The Intent was to paint a Picture of Mrs. Palin in the Mind of the Audience as a Sow. Such a crude Jape, unworthy of a Gentleman of Mr. Obama's Reputation, should not, in itself, arouse excessively chivalrous & gallant Sentiments in her male Admirers; 'twas but a passing Jest upon Mrs. Palin's own Words. Mr. Obama also made it with no little Indirection, as befits a Gentleman who would perhaps insult a Lady, altho' the Audience wanted no Hint to take his Meaning.

Yet, Madam, there remains another View of such petty Barbs. Habitual vehement Jesting against Women renders the Conscience of both the Teller & Hearer insensible by Degrees to very real Wrongs, nay mortal Injuries, that may in the end be done. Such crude & unfeeling Sentiments seem to well up naturally in brutish Men of poor Breeding & little Sense. They reqire strong Correction, lest the noblest Impulses of the human Heart be utterly extinguish'd and Society corrupt'd.

By way of Example, the following Account is from a London News-paper in my Day, shewing where ill-temper'd Designs of mix't Pigs & Women may lead:—
The London Journal
22nd August 1730.

We hear that at the late Assizes held at Bridgwater, an Indictment was preferred against a Sow-Gelder, for attempting to spay his Wife; but she refused to prosecute, and acknowledged her Forgiveness of him, and desired the Court would do the same: However, the Court remanded him back to Prison, and, for the sake of the good Women in general, ordered him to remain there 'till he could give 400l. Security for his good Behaviour during Life.

The Occasion of this vile Attempt, was this: The Sow-Gelder being in Company with several other married Men over a Pot of Ale, they all join’d in Complaint of the Fruitfulness of their Wives, because of the Charges brought upon them thereby; and asking him, whether he could not do by their Wives as by other Animals, he said he could; and they all agreed their good Women should undergo the Operation, provided he would begin with his own: This, with a great Oath, he undertook; and going Home, by Violence gagg’d and bound his Wife, and laying her on a Table, made a transverse Incision on the side of her Belly; but after much Puzzling, and putting the poor Woman to great Torment, he found there was some Difference between the Situation of the Parts in the rational & irrational Animals, and so, sewing up the Wound, he was forced to give up the Experiment. The Woman in her first Agonies appear'd strenuously against him, but being Recovered by the Time of the Trial, was so generous as to forgive him, and plead for his Pardon, as above.

I remember to have read one Instance (if I mistake not) of the Duke of Cleve’s Sow-Gelder, who actually perform’d this Operation on his Daughter, whom he suspect'd to be young with Child by an inveigling Courtier; but as he went through-stitch with his Work, so his Prince wen through-stitch with him, putting him to a cruel & exemplary Death for so inhuman an Action.
* * * * * * * *

This Account ravels several Strands that may be pull'd from the Life Story of Mrs. Palin. Nay, they are some of the Warp & Woof of the Stuff of a modern Civilized Society, where Children are count'd as an Expense, and being rid of them the Provenance of Physick. Our Sow-Gelder wanted only Knowledge of Modern Chiurgeury to compleat his Task, and so excuse himself from the Bother & Expense of Parenthood, continuing, as he would, Relations with his Wife.

Mrs. Palin & her Family have woven a pretty Tapestry, after their Fashion, from these Threads. The Sow-Gelder and his poor Wife made a very different Picture; shewing that Selfishness and ill-regard for Women, indeed, clownish Disrespect for the very Act of Procreation, are not the especial Possession of this Age.

Beggging your Pardon for the excessive Length of my Epistle, but praying that rational & sensible Persons will be reminded thus of the Difference between a Woman & a Pig, and so Men & Beasts, I am,


Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy


vbspurs said...

I've got to stop and savor this one: another visitation from our ghost commenter Sir Archy.

Clever, Ann. You're just trying to form the impression in readers' minds that YOU are not Sir Archy.

I'm on to you.

P.S.: Wow, that was awesome. Whoever Sir Archy is, he may be the most original commenter on any blog, ever.


P_J said...

Sir Archy rocks hard, old school.

Maggie Goff said...

I love it! Thank you, Sir Archy.

Donn said...

Gee.....if I could understand Sir Archy I might like it also.

rhhardin said...


Lem the artificially intelligent said...

Sir Archy is from..

Two Chaps Talking.

I specially like their Gentleman's Dictionary and Usage.

Roger J. said...

Would it be asking too much if we declared sir archy a national treasure? I have never seen a modern writer who could capture the writing style of 18th century writing, and at the same time, apply it to modern America. And do it with such insight and wit. Bravo Sir Archy.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Pork Chop?

Zaplito said...

Does he look like Colin Firth?

vbspurs said...


Did you see Ann's new, very wordy masthead? She quotes Lawgiver:

"It's your fault Althouse. I'm now a full-blown political junkie. Thanks for nothing. When I first stumbled upon your website I was a casual user who visited once a week to look at the pretty pictures and to see if you had recently fisked anyone. Now I start every day with a visit to your site to get my fix of national stupidity…. Like a junkie staring at a spoonful of cooking smack I know it's wrong but I just can't help myself." — Lawgiver.

I don't remember having read that, but I was thinking I am much in the same position as Lawgiver these days.

That's why I'm going to scale back a bit. Summer is almost over, I need to enjoy it whilst I'm still young.


rhhardin said...

modern writer who could capture the writing style of 18th century writing,

All it lacks is content.

EnigmatiCore said...

This thread needs music.

Jeremy said...

That's a feature, not a bug.

Unknown said...

Great. I just wasted 3 minutes of the rest of my life reading this post.

I want my money back.

ricpic said...

As fair sex becometh ever more barbarous
Virile sex is enjoined to restraint
In matters declarative and amorous.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Sir Archy is the best.

Bissage said...

(1) I wish I’d said what Pastor Jeff said at 6:04 PM.

(2) I wish I’d ever said anything Sir Archy has ever said, EVAR!!1!!!

(3) Here’s to YOU, Sir Archy, a man for our times!

** toasts to the ghost ***

(4) EVARRRRRRRR!!!!!!!111!!!!

rhhardin said...

Well but I read in that style expecting Coleridge or Carlyle or De Quincey, who are a pleasure to read. The right word in the right place.

A contentless version just says that he never enjoyed or understood the stuff, or he wouldn't do it.

Gedaliya said...

First class. He makes it look easy.

George M. Spencer said...

Second class joke...

Lady in a bar invites this guy to go home with her.

He honors her offer, and all night long it was honor and offer.

There's another part to it. Can't remember. Maybe they're both lawyers.

Roy Lofquist said...

I have never heard of Sir Archy but he only adds to my dilemma. The web is becoming so rewarding that in my retirement I am spending ten hours a day in front of this stupid TV looking thingy instead of doing God's will - golf and fishing.

KCFleming said...

Once again, Sir Archy delivers.

OldManRick said...


She offers her honor,

He honors her offer,

And all night long its offer and honor.

This is the education you can get from playing on a rugby team.

Bissage said...

Speaking of honor/off her, I daresay the definitive rendering will be found at the link I will set forth below.

Such an assertion is something I do with no small amount of trepidation, but it is my own quirky way of saying thanks for all the fish.

My humble advice?

Commit it to memory.

Then get yourself invited to a kick-ass dinner party.

Then achieve immortality.


Attribution is a matter of moral hazard.

P.S. Teh intertubes is a beauful thang!

Ms. Annie Matronic said...

I know a Professor who's quite upset that the class is increasingly more dark-skinned than is comfortable.

What does a Professor have to do to get an all-White class, these days?

It's very uncomfortable having to lecture to students whose skin is so much darker than your own. Not a single student with a complexion lighter than the Professor's.

How distressing.

Roy Lofquist said...

Dear Ms. Matronic,

I dunno. Makeup? You probably know more about that than do I. All I know is that steak actually does help a black eye. And makes for a tasty snack after the swelling goes down.


Athena DePaul said...

It must be nice to be a Certain Ghost who's been Dead these 260 years and not have to worry about gainful employment. We should all Be so lucky as to fritter the Day away thusly.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Not a single student with a complexion lighter than the Professor's.

All the albinos are married.

Roy Lofquist said...

Dear Ms. DePaul,

I would not be at all surprised if Sir Archy dashed that off in less than an hour in the back seat of his limousine on his way to dining at Lutece. By the way Lutece just isn't the same since the Mayzen family sold it. They opened a much nicer restaurant in Banksville, New York. If you ever get up that way say hello to Robert for me. Haven't seen him in a coon's age. - that's raccoon for the perpetually offended.


Susan said...

Does he look like Colin Firth?

Write like Sir Archy AND look like Colin Firth? Get me to a heart defibrillator.

Anonymous said...

You're just trying to form the impression in readers' minds that YOU are not Sir Archy.


Tibore said...

"Paul Zrimsek said...
You're just trying to form the impression in readers' minds that YOU are not Sir Archy.