A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 07, 2010
“Politics ain’t beanbag”

"Politics ain’t beanbag” is the famous statement of Mr. Dooley, an Irish-American character of writer Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936).

In an 1895 newspaper column, the full quote was: “Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag. ‘Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childer, cripples an’ prohybitionists ‘d do well to keep out iv it.”

In an 1898 book, the quote was changed slightly: “Politics,” he says, “ain’t bean bag. ‘Tis a man’s game; an’ women, childher, an’ pro-hybitionists’d do well to keep out iv it.”


Wikipedia: Finley Peter Dunne
Finley Peter Dunne (July 10, 1867 — April 24, 1936) was a Chicago-based U.S. author, writer and humorist. He published Mr. Dooley in Peace and War, a collection of his nationally syndicated Mr. Dooley sketches, in 1898. The fictional Mr. Dooley expounded upon political and social issues of the day from his South Side Chicago Irish pub and he spoke with the thick verbiage and accent of an Irish immigrant from County Roscommon. Dunne’s sly humor and political acumen won the support of President Theodore Roosevelt, a frequent target of Mr. Dooley’s barbs. Indeed Dunne’s sketches became so popular and such a litmus test of public opinion that they were read each week at White House cabinet meetings.

Peter Finley Dunne was born in Chicago on July 10, 1867. He was educated in the Chicago public schools (graduating from high school last in his class), then began his newspaper career in Chicago as a newspaper reporter/editor for the Chicago Telegram in 1884, at age 17. He was then with the Chicago News from 1884-88, the Chicago Times in 1888, the Chicago Tribune in 1889, the Chicago Herald in 1889, and the Chicago Journal in 1897. Originally named Peter Dunne, to honor his mother, who had died when he was in high school, he took her family name as his middle name some time before 1886, going by PF Dunne, reversed the two names in 1888, for Finley P. Dunne, and later used simply the initials, FP Dunne. His sister, Amelia Dunne Hookway, was a prominent educator and high school principal in Chicago; the former Hookway School was named in her honor.
(...)
Quotes from Finley Peter Dunne
(Translated from the Irish brogue into modern English)
“Politics ain’t beanbag: ‘tis a man’s game, and women, children ‘n’ pro-hy-bitionists had best stay out of it.”

Wikipedia: Bean bag
A bean bag (also beanbag) is a sealed bag containing dried beans, PVC pellets or expanded polystyrene, with various applications. As bean bag games are not apt to cause injury, they are referenced in the famous aphorism by the Irish-American politico Finley Peter Dunne that “Politics ain’t bean bag.”

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 220:
Finley Peter Dunne
U.S. humorist, 1867- 1936
“‘Politics,’ he says, ‘ain’t bean bag.’”
Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War preface (1898)

13 October 1895, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 15, col. 3:
MR. DOOLEY ON CHANGE OF POLITICS
He Discourses on the Old Ways, and
How Republicans Have Them.

(...)
“Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag. ‘Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childer, cripples an’ prohybitionists ‘d do well to keep out iv it.
(...)
-- Chicago Post.

Google Books
Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War
By Finley Peter Dunne
Boston, MA: Small, Maynard & Company
1898
Pg. xiii:
“Politics,” he says, “ain’t bean bag. ‘Tis a man’s game; an’ women, childher, an’ pro-hybitionists’d do well to keep out iv it.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Politics ain’t beanbag : with apologies to Finley Peter Dunne
Author: John C Pittenger
Publisher: Bloomington, Ind. : Authorhouse, 2005.
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English

Google Books
Safire’s Political Dictionary
By William Safire
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2008
Pp. 45-46:
beanbag What politics ain’t.

“His early experience,” wrote Finley Peter Dunne of his creation, saloon-keeping philosopher Mr. DOOLEY, “gave him wisdom in discussing public affairs. ‘Politics,’ he says, ‘ain’t beanbag. ‘Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childher, an’ pro-hybitionists’d do well to keep out iv it.”

The above quotation in Irish brogue is taken from the preface to Mr. Dooley in Peace and War, published in 1898; it had been used earlier by Dunne, on October 5, 1895, in an essay in the Chicago Evening Post.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, January 07, 2010 • Permalink