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Okay, tadpoles, time to strike up the March of the Frogs! (That would be the under-rated amphibian passage in Beethoven’s Pastoral.) I suspect I’m not the only one, in my Rove reveries, to look up the origins of that exquisite expression: “to frog-march.” Now my friend Jesse Sheidlower — North American editor of the OED, and The Guy Who Knows Shit About Slang — is liable to spank me for this, but as far as I can discern the “frog” bit comes from the fact that the marchee was originally held upside down, giving him a frog-like appearance. Also (and this has no linguistic significance) it was common for the police, while frog-marching a perp, to beat a tattoo on his butt. When Karl Rove is frog-marched, as per the wishes of Wilson, do we dare hope that he will be held upside down, while a drum solo is paddled with Keith-Moon-like abandon upon his oft-kissed rump?

He deserves no less.

“What’s that, Karl? Got a frog in your throat?”
“Yes, but last night it was a prince…”

Oh, it’s a glorious image to be sure. Even a modern frog march would be a treat. In fact, I don’t care if they pin his arms — it might be nice to see him holding up his jacket, in an effort (finally!) to get that loathsome puffy face out of the media.

There is still much to discover; in the next dozen days all will be revealed. Every question answered. How much did Rove cover up, and with whom did he conspire? What did Cheney contribute (and will Halliburton be able to somehow capitalize on this?) How much did the president know? How much did Ashcroft know before recusing himself? Should Rove be held upside down? What precise rhythm should be paddled upon his butt?

Meanwhile, I’m going to curl up with my translation of Aristophanes’ The Frogs. (Favorite line: “O, dear! O, dear! Now I declare, I’ve got a bump upon my rump.”) Then I intend to cook up a mess o’ frog’s legs. After all, I live in the state of Guanajuato (“Hill of Frogs”).

And I quote from the (fabulously obscure) Odis Bird:

Froggy went a courtin’ and he did ride
And took miss Mousey by his side

Can you tell I’m in good mood?


If this struck you as a petty, gratuitious smear, feel free to visit Dysblog for more of the same, gratis. Gracias.

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About visigoth

  • Ahem. In the Oxford English Dictionary newsletter, Jesse is given the title: “Principal Editor, OED (North American Editorial Unit). On the OED site he is “Editor-at-large (North America).”

    And he has in fact weighed in regarding “to frog-march” — in an email I’m quoting without permission:

    “_frog-march_ has always referred to forcibly marching someone with their arms pinned behind his back. I think it’s that that gives the frog-like appearance, rather than being upside down.”

  • Jesse’s more likely to spank you because he’s actually Editor at Large of OED, not “North American Editor.”

    But he could also spank you because, as I’m sure Jesse will tell you, when people are frog-marched they are not held “upside-down,” but possibly face-down. OED’s current definition of “to frog-march” is “to carry (a prisoner) face downwards; now usually, to hustle (a person) forward after seizing him from behind and pinning his arms together.” The noun is defined as “the method of carrying a drunken or refractory prisoner face downwards between four men, each holding a limb.”

  • Nancy

    *Heavy sigh* It all depends on what kind of deal all these repulsive lawyers can get for all their even-more-repulsive clients as to who turns states’ evidence first for what against whom, probably.

    I think something is in the air, tho: there have already been comments by Rove that *should* anything happen, he will take an unpaid leave of absence, or perhaps just quit entirely. Sounds like trouble’s a-comin’ to me.

  • Well, evidently it’s a formal business, announcing whether someone’s a target — Justice Department guidelines insist that someone be informed of this status before they testify.

    Frankly, I don’t know *what* kind of grey area Rove is in here. Not a target, yet with no guarantees that he won’t be indicted. Very odd.

  • Why on earth would Fitzgerald tell him Rove was or wasn’t a target of the investigation? Of course one would think Rove could have figured it out and told him one way or another after 4 sessions there.


  • This is the most recent comment I could find regarding Luskin, Rove’s lawyer (from Bloomberg, 18 minutes ago). Note that Luskin was not told that Rove was *not* a target — he simply hasn’t yet been told whether Rove *is* a target. Big, big distinction:

    “Rove, 54, returned to the grand jury for a fourth time on Oct. 14 and testified for more than four hours. His lawyer, Luskin, who has spoken frequently with reporters, has gone from public optimism that his client faces little legal danger to cautiously noting only that Fitzgerald hasn’t told them Rove is a “target.”

  • Sorry, got my lawyers crossed. You’re quite right, it was Rove’s lawyer, not Miller’s. Bob Bennett sticks in my mind because of his resemblance to a human slug, something he has in common with Rove.


  • According to Bob Bennett? What would he know? He’s *Judith Miller’s* attorney. And her conversations seem to have been with Libby, not Rove. Bennett won’t have a clue regarding Rove’s status. Rove’s lawyer, on the other hand, was told — before Karl went in to give testimony for the fourth time — that there were no guarantees that Rove would not be indicted. That was a couple of days ago. Do you know something I don’t know? (I suspect not.)

    (Oh, and yes: I loathe the man. Possibly the most repulsive figure on the current Washington scene, and that’s saying a great deal.)

  • Fun though frog-marching may be, it’s not going to be happening to Rove since he’s ‘not the target of the investigation’ according to Bob Bennett. Keep hate er I mean hope alive.


  • (Beethoven was not fond of leaders with imperial ambitions. The “Emperor” Concerto was not named by him.)

  • Well, do remember that he changed the dedication to the Eroica when Napoleon started acting too much like Dubya.

  • octogent

    douglas; It is sad indeed to read such puerile, sophomoric blather as in this post.One would hope and even possibly expect such drivel would be beyond the pale for someone who can make a critical comment on the works of Beethoven. Oh well, I suppose you feel the same regarding his honororium in the 5th piano concerto and the 3rd symphony.

  • Oh, this is spooky — I just posted my BlogScan on Karl Rove…

  • Douglas:
    Don’t get too excited. Frogs are nortoriously slippery and this one may get away yet. On the bright side, what kind of prison do you think they’re going to send him to?