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 February 19, 2010
“Pioneers take the arrows”

"Pioneers take (all) the arrows” means that the first people to take a position (such as a political position) receive the most opposition and scorn. Eventually, the position possibly becomes accepted by the majority. The followers of the pioneers, however, take fewer “arrows.”

The saying dates to at least the 1960s and has been used frequently by conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.


Time magazine
Corporations: New Course for Chris-Craft
Friday, Jul. 14, 1961
(...)
Says one top Chris-Craft executive: “We had gotten so we didn’t pay attention to the market trends. The philosophy was: Let the pioneers get the arrows in their behinds.”

Google Books
September 1972, Datamation, “CSC and New York’s Off-Track Betting: Pioneers get Arrows,” pg. 101:
And CSC is left wincing over the adage: “Pioneers get little but arrows in the derriere.”
-- Angeline Pantages

Google Books
Application Development Without Programmers
By James Martin
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
1981
Pg. 47:
..."Do not let innovation loose for the sake of innovation” and “Pioneers get arrows in their backs!”

Google Books
April 1984, Texas Monthly, pg. 239, col. 1:
Arthur Collins now runs a leading research and development firm in Dallas, but as L.J. Sevin archly observes, his fate seems to prove the adage that “pioneers get arrows in their backs.”

The Guardian
Mondale quits on bitter-sweet note / Democratic presidential candidate defeated
Michael White
The Guardian, Thursday 8 November 1984 12.29 GMT
(...)
From their own side, the former Carter campaign manager, Mr Bert Lance, was also offering a pithy obituary on Mrs Ferraro’s candidacy, which Mr Mondale again robustly defended yesterday. ‘Pioneers get all the arrows,’ Mr Lance said.

Google News Archive
2 February 1986, The Courier (Prescott, AZ), pg. 4A, col. 1:
An adage states: “The pioneers take all the arrows.”

Google Books
Skyscraper
By Karl Sabbagh
London: Macmillan
1989
Pg. 258:
To use one of Nusbaum’s favourite maxims: ‘Pioneers take the arrows.’

13 January 1991, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Women share joys, sorrows in battle for political clout” by Carlos Vidal Greth, pg. E1:
“There’s an old saying that the pioneers take all the arrows,” says Weddington, who was a special assistant to President Jimmy Carter.

11 November 1993, USA Today, “Limbaugh’s rush to book list’s top” by Deirdre Donahue, pg. D1:
But he says, “pioneers take the arrows - I consider myself one.”

RushLimbaugh.com
Pioneers Take the Arrows: CPAC Speakers Now Free to Talk Failure
February 19, 2010
RUSH: Rick Klein, ABC News, The Note: “An old war has a new name. Some old names have some new relevance. And the more things change, the more we hear about change.  The mood at the Conservative Political Action Conference gathering—which continues into the weekend in Washington—is decidedly more upbeat than a year ago.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, February 19, 2010 • Permalink