12/16/10

Doesn't know sh#t from shinola

Listening to Eric Cantor recently as he waxed eloquently about the virtues of the Republican agenda, I found myself uttering these words to my shocked TV set , " He doesn't know shit from shinola!". No sooner had I gotten the words out of my mouth I began to wonder how many people today would make any sense from that phrase. If you have never shined your own shoes, comparing sh#t to shinola makes little sense. Even if you shined a pair of shoes, the phrase may be difficult to digest. The following excerpted from The Phrase Finder may help:


Shinola was a brand of shoe polish previously manufactured in the USA. The alliteration and the fact that the two commodities in the phrase could possibly be confused is the derivation. The distinction is well made; only one of them would be good to apply to your shoes and only particularly dim people could be expected to muddle them up. Of course, outside America, most people don't know Shinola from anything at all, as they've never heard of it. Even in America it would probably not be widely remembered but for this phrase.

Translation:

  •  When someone doesn't know anything about what they should know something about, they don't know sh#t from shinola.
  •  Someone possessing poor judgment or knowledge doesn't know sh#t from shinola.
Of course the honorable Eric Cantor is not alone in the world of sh#t and shinola. Listen carefully to the garbage being spewed by most of our politicians and you would have to conclude that there will be a lot of shoes covered with shit, I mean covered with sh#t, making their way to the halls of Congress. What can we expect come 2011? Does garbage in , garbage out cover the legislative agenda?

1 comment:

Charles Leck said...

How I remember my father using that expression so frequently! It would have been in the late 40s and during the 50s. He was a common, but extraordinary man who knew his Shinola! Chas