January 04, 2005
I Know My Chicken*

Recently I was compelled to fact-check the old political canard "a chicken in every pot." Specifically, who said it? Most sites (like this one) say it's associated with Herbert Hoover, but that he didn't really say it, the RNC did. This site agrees, more or less.

Strangely, a lot of people get it wrong and attribute the slogan to Roosevelt. You'd think, for instance, that the Young Conservatives would know better. PETA also makes this mistake, although they were probably having a lot of problems with the concept, period. Even the dubious minds behind this site can't get it right--nor can the objectivists. In Louisiana things are even worse--these people think Huey Long said it.

But, anyway. Hoover. Children who hear this "rap" for schoolchildren will never forget: "A chicken in every pot/A car in every garage/Herbert Hoover wanted/But it was a mirage." Cluck to the Izzo?

As usual with this kind of search, various oddities surface. The oddest of all was this one, from "The History of Spandex":

President Theodore Roosevelt was finally forced to intervene after a violent Spandex Uprising took place in what is regarded as a precursor to the first strip mall near Los Angelenos, California. New Labor laws preventing Spandex strikes saved thousands of jobs and lives. 'Teddy' campaigned that year with the slogan, "A Chicken In Every Pot, Spandex on Every Butt." He won, roundly.

But is it even an American meme? To the surprise of many, we may have the French to thank for this whole thing. Bartleby thinks it dates back to Henry IV : Anxious to see prosperity reach all classes, he is reputed to have said, "There should be a chicken in every peasant's pot every Sunday." So there you have it. Now, who's hungry?

*who else remembers Cibo Matto?

Posted at January 04, 2005 06:48 PM