Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rove, Rove, Rove your boat, gently up the river

I don't really have a post to go with that subject line. Except, perhaps, to ask--how did "up the river" come to mean "go to prison"?

11 comments:

Jay Jordan said...

most prisons are "up the river" from somewhere...

take Angola for instance (Louisiana's infamouse maximum security prison)..

it is up the river from both baton rouge and new orleans, where most of its prisoners hail...

it is down river from natchez, mississippi, but murderers there would go to the Mississippi State Pen...

make sense?

of course we can wait and ask Rove this time next year...

Jim Donahue said...

Makes sense. And Sing Sing is "up the river" from NYC.

Grammarian said...

In the old days all prisons were up the river. That made it easy to transport people there, not so easy for them to get back.

Jovi said...

The phrase originally referred to Sing-Sing Prison, on the Hudson River about 30 miles north of New York City. From about 1890 on, it was broadened to apply to any prison by the early 1900s.

Going with the theory that it would be harder to get back from prison than to get there is illogical when refering to this phrase. Most rivers flow south, so going 'up the river' would imply that they were fighting against the current. Leaving would be easier as they would be going with the current.

Grammarian said...

Phthtphthth!!!

CG said...

You know, I never knew where that phrase came from. Still, I can only hope Rove ends up in prison. A nice tiny one with a roommate named "Killah"

Jay Jordan said...

so you want him in jail because you think he committed a crime, or just cause you don't like his politics?

Jim Donahue said...

Yes.

Jay Jordan said...

uhh.....ok

i think

NYPinTA said...

"Rove, Rove, Rove your boat, gently up the river"

it's kind of hard to go gently up any river if you are in a leaky boat.

Will said...

If I were asked the direction this administration has been taking this country, it would be up a river in a leaky boat. Oh, Lord, we're goin' down.