“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
I often heard that phrase growing up and still utter those words once in awhile to my 12-year-old, which is usually met with a predictive eye roll.
I’ve found myself biting my tongue and rolling my eyes quite a bit lately too. First, it was the radio ban on the 1944 Christmas classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (I love when they sing that on the movie “Elf”) and then it was one anti-agriculture organization’s attempt to ban such phrases as “bringing home the bacon.” After all, it might be offensive to vegans and vegetarians …
It seems instead of not saying anything at all, society has started to pick apart things we have been saying and singing for years.
So, where did bringing home the bacon come from?
It appears the idiom stems from a tradition that goes back to the 1100s in Great Dunmow, Essex, England. The legend goes that the vicar of the church of Dunmow would reward the couple that hadn’t argued for a whole year and a day with “a side of bacon.”
The phrase wasn’t used in the United States until 1906 when boxer Joe Gans first used it after beating Oliver Nelson in the world lightweight championship. Gans’ mother had started it, sending him a good luck telegram and telling him to “bring home the bacon.” The first native-born African-American to win a world boxing title, Gans then replied to his mother with a telegram of his own, stating that “he not only had the bacon, but the gravy as well.”
Today, the term is often used to describe earning a living or enough money to live on and provide for yourself and your family. Isn’t that what we are all just trying to do, especially this holiday season?
I’m thankful for my job and getting to share your latest research, industry advances and real pig farming stories each week. I am thankful for all of the innovative, hard-working producers, veterinarians, researchers and other industry leaders who dedicate their time and talent to help produce pork products to feed our nation and beyond. After all, if our industry wasn’t so highly skilled at their jobs we wouldn’t be able to spend our hard-earned “bacon” on the more than 50 pounds of pork we each consume each year here in the states.
I echo my colleague Kevin Schulz’s Thanksgiving post, “I wish more people would realize how great we have it here, and to be thankful for what we all have.” I also wish more people would follow, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
In fact, that’s what Sen. Orrin Hatch did recently after the request to quit using “bringing home the bacon.” He didn’t say anything at all. He just ate more bacon.
Oh, yeah …