July 7, 2014

"The House GOP Should Man Up Instead of Resorting to Political Theater in the Courts."

Writes Erick Erickson at Red State, and I don't have to read beyond that headline to know I want to blog this. I too think the lawsuit is political theater — bad political theater — but I think I'd forgo the masculinity disparagement (which continues with "I realize John Boehner and the House Republicans may lack the testicular fortitude to fight President Obama...").

You might remember that we were just talking about the phrase "man up," in a post titled "Is America's dominant 'man up' ethos a hypermasculine cultural construct, a tenet rooted in biological gender difference or something in between?" The post title isn't something I wrote, but something some NPR guy said. I questioned whether America had a "dominant 'man up' ethos," and in the comments, I wrote about the origins of the phrase "man up":
For what it's worth: The Oxford English Dictionary finds this as the earliest use of "man up" (to mean "To demonstrate manliness, toughness, or courage when faced with a difficult situation"):

1996 Palm Beach (Florida) Post 2 Mar. c1/2 He made a commitment, and to his credit, he manned up to it.
And I quoted from Ben Zimmer's "The Meaning of ‘Man Up'":
"One notable forerunner of man up as we know it today is cowboy up, a phrase that has been used in rodeo circles for decades.... Cowboy up wasn’t much known outside of rodeo country until 2003, when it became the rallying cry for the Boston Red Sox.... Man up owes its early popularization to another American sport: football, where it originally had a more technical meaning relating to man-to-man pass defense...."
Note that the earlier meaning of "man up" was not act like a man, but (to quote the OED again) "To supply with the full number of workers required" — that is, to get all the men you need on the the job, which actually would fit the idea Erickson presses on Boehner better than the "testicular fortitude"/masculinity notion.

By the way, the OED, on that older meaning of "man up," quotes some British writer in 1947 complaining about the unnecessary "up":
Must industries be fully ‘manned up’ rather than ‘manned’? Must the strong, simple transitive verb..become as obsolete in England as it appears to be in America?
We Americans do like adding "up" to verbs that might do without it. We don't just fill the glass, we fill the glass up, and we don't just drink the drink, we drink it up. We don't just build our self-esteem, we build it up. I'm calling that optimism, but maybe it's more of the phallocracy that dominates the ethos around here.

46 comments:

Meade said...

Shut up.

Ann Althouse said...

The soda name 7-Up is a reference to an erect 7-inch penis, right?

Meade said...

I give up.

The Crack Emcee said...

Sorry but, you can quote as many sources as you want but, as long as whites have deliberately left out oral histories and the like, I still say the origins of "man up" probably was black.

That's science,...

Ann Althouse said...

"I give up."

That gave me a flashback to the 1950s-60s when kids used to bully other kids by getting them in some kind of wrestling lock and saying "Do you give?" (without the "up") until the kid finally said "I give."

Not "giving" in the feminine sense of "I'm a very giving person."

Original Mike said...

I've always thought that the "up" in "fill it up" signified filling it completely ( i.e. To the top).

madAsHell said...

Man up?
Like...."Meet me at the flagpole after school. Don't make me wait!"

Going through the courts will be tedious, and Obama will find a way to run the clock out, but it's the right thing to do.

Brando said...

While I agree with Erickson that the lawsuit is a waste of time--and a display of powerlessness--his solution seems to be to take the sort of action that will almost definitely (a) fire up the left who lately have had a lot to be downcast and unmotivated about and (b) scare the middle against the idea of letting the GOP have any more power. Erickson and his ilk seem to think there are a lot more right wingers out there, who mostly sit on the sidelines because the GOP establishment is all RINO, and that if the GOP got a lot "tougher" it'd bring these right wingers to the polls and swamp the left and middle, heralding in an era where Ted Cruz calls the shots and Obama has to meekly obey.

The problem is Boehner and company have to play the cards they have, not the ones they wish they had. This year's election is higher stakes for the GOP than it is for the Dems, and that plus an accumulation of Obama missteps and scandals should create an environment ripe for pickups--maybe enough to take the Senate, but at least to build some insurance seats going into 2016. Beyond that the thing the GOP needs to do is find ways to expand its base to remove the Democratic advantage that Hillary! will be counting on (she won't be counting on actually being a good candidate, so party loyalty is her best weapon).

I suppose you can't blame Erickson for using that same old refrain--it'd be like blaming your dog for stinking up your house. He wants to speak for the "true believer" right, and stymie Obama in his final two and a half years. But the GOP would be wise to focus on the election and changing public opinion to their benefit.

Saint Croix said...

It's still okay to go down on women, right?

Sean Gleeson said...

The soda name 7-Up is a reference to an erect 7-inch penis, right?

That cannot be right, because 7-Up is a soft drink.

traditionalguy said...

Beware, or we brave, bullish Phallocrats may arise and stiffly stand up sturdily to our wilting, weak, wimpy trophy women captives.

Scared you, didn't I?

John said...

I was thinking much the same thing abut the lawsuit as Ann and others have expressed here.

But then yesterday it struck me that there may be deeper motives.

This may be the fantasy of a fevered mind but:

1) Boehner brings the lawsuit

2) The court throws it out saying that it is a matter for political, not legal, resolution.

3) Boehner (or maybe a demmie) initiates impeachment proceedings against Obie.

Right now impeachment proceedings would play right into Obie's hands. He could whine "Look what those mean Repos are doing to me! Waaaaah!"

But if the public perceived impeachment as being mandated by the courts, the dynamic could change. Now Boehner could say "The courts are making us do this." Not exactly true, of course, but that is how it could be spun.

Even if it were a thoroughly Repo effort, Obie is getting down to the bottom of the goodwill barrel even among Demmies and the press.

The spin might work.

John Henry

Saint Croix said...

I have now decided this Springsteen song is about a sex move. Yes, you are outflanked!

John said...

Ann said:

That gave me a flashback to the 1950s-60s when kids used to bully other kids by getting them in some kind of wrestling lock and saying "Do you give?" (without the "up") until the kid finally said "I give.

That was "bullying"? Granted in some cases it might have been. A 6th grader picking on a 4th grader, for example. In most cases I suspect that it was fighting between more or less equals.

Hardly "bullying", I think.

John Henry

BDNYC said...

crack up

The Savage Noble said...

Why is everyone Wee Wee'd Up? Its not even August yet...

n.n said...

There was a similar expectation of women. It was part of America's pioneering heritage, which required both men, women, and children to step up.

madAsHell said...

The soda name 7-Up is a reference to an erect 7-inch penis, right?

Ugh

Original Mike said...

If the GOP "manned up" to Obama they'd be racist; now wouldn't they?

Nonapod said...

Generally "masculinity disparagement" phrases like "man up" are intendended too be motivational rather than purely derogatory. The idea is to shame someone into action, in this case the GOP. I don't know how effective such phrases really are. An interesting psychological test might be to try using these phrases to motivate some subjects into performing an unpleasant task versus a control group who receives no masculine disparaging phrases and see which ones performs the task quickest and best.

Michael K said...

"It's still okay to go down on women, right?"

It is if you don't mind cancer .

F said...

"Up" is less offensive as an addition than "at". My skin crawls when I hear someone say "where are you at?"

Mary Beth said...

I don't know about the "7" in 7-Up, but the "up" was because it originally contained lithium citrate.

Next Adventure said...

The Football or general sport reference to "man up" is something to shout to your teammates faster than "match up", when the team assigns one defensive player to one offensive player. If your teammate isn't covering a player, it is easy to shout "man-up" to remind everyone to get their assigned opponent. If the coach switches from Zone defense to the assigned player defense it can also create some confusion in the other team.

Hagar said...

Boehner & Co. may be hoping to get the courts, maybe even the Supremes, to somewhere along the line state that, yes, the President has violated his oath of office, which then makes a ground for impeachment to stand on beyond the House's opinion of what constitutes "other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Titus said...

Wisconsin sells a soda called squirt-I believe it refers to blowing a load.

jacksonjay said...

It's still okay to go down on women, right?

It is if you don't mind cancer.


Not just Jamie Dimond, ask Michael Douglas. He Eata Zeta!

jacksonjay said...

Damn, I blew the punchline. Atea Zeta!

Mr. D said...

"I've upped my standard. Now up yours."

-- Pat Paulsen

Ann Althouse said...

"I've always thought that the "up" in "fill it up" signified filling it completely ( i.e. To the top)."

That's already what "fill" means!

It's like we need to add: And we really mean it!

Not just half-fill, now. Make it all-the-way full.

It's kind of babyish.

Ann Althouse said...

Some people say: Fill it all the way up.

So what's the function of "all the way" if "up" already meant all the way?

Ann Althouse said...

It's not like you could fill it down.

Gravity establishes that pouring a liquid will have it going up.

I almost wrote "raise up."

Lift up your heart, America!

Ann Althouse said...

Compare:

1. That's fucked.

2. That's fucked up.

But:

1. He fucked.

2. He fucked up.

sarasota dogwizard said...

i agree with 'The Crack Emcee'...

khematite@aol.com said...

And how come "drink it up" means the same thing as "drink it down"? Just as "slow up" means the same thing as "slow down." Quite perverse.

dwick said...

Good lord, between Obama and his missus lecturing us on everything from what 'stuff' the American people want from big daddy government to what we should be eating and now 'Professor' Althouse wasting web pages over-analyzing and mindlessly prattling on about the meaning of the colloquial phrase 'man up', 2017 and the long overdue popping of the grossly over-extended (and overpaid) higher-education bubble can't come soon enough!

holdfast said...

Time to nut up or shut up!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afUTyqG90sE

ObeliskToucher said...

Impeachment is the briar patch that liberals (and especially the Democratic Party faithful) are desperate to have Obama thrown into. There's no chance of Obama being convicted in an impeachment trial, even if the Senate goes 70 seat to the Republicans this fall, and the press would be playing the "those d**n Republican racists" tune 100%, non-stop, forever. The President will continue "borrowing" executive powers for the next couple of years he will be effectively immunized against any action against himself outside the courts.

FullMoon said...

Confucious says Girl who do handstand, have crack-up.
Redd Foxx

Michael said...

The announcements, the incessant announcements, on an airplane nearly always include the redundant:

today's flight is completely full. or full up in the local vernacular.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

We Americans do like adding "up" to verbs that might do without it...

Mark this [down], Althouse. It's not just "up."

Extra words and syllables abound in English use[age] once you are orien[ta]ted to see them.

Zach said...

The trouble is that the Constitution gives Congress very few powers to directly confront the President. In theory, the President must obey the law, which is written by Congress. If the President doesn't obey the law, that's an issue to be settled by the courts. Congress doesn't really have the power to give explicit commands to the Executive Branch.

Impeachment is a tool that is best left in the closet, in my opinion. It precipitates a crisis instead of resolving a dispute.

The idea that Congress lacks standing to sue for enforcement is an extratextual element that might need to be reexamined. I would certainly rather see a change to the standing doctrine than an impeachment crisis.

Matt said...

In the case of Boehner let's just say it's 'made up'.

Scott said...

I've heard of cowboys having to "cowboy up." But do women ever have to "women up," and give it the old "vulvular fortitude?"

glenn said...

I'm not the least bit worried about the Pubs having the b***s or Obama having the b*lls to confront each other. I'm worried about them and all the rest of us not having the b***s to confront the Muslims.

Trashhauler said...

Anything referring to "man" must have something wrong with it. Because shut up.