Wednesday Assorted Thoughts

Published: 2022-04-06

Things I Learned

"If by whiskey..." (or Russell Conjugation) - A tactic used in certain arguments or debates to change the meaning or language used to describe something.

"If by whiskey" caught on from a speech in 1952 on whether or not Mississippi should change their prohibition laws. The lawyer making the speech said "If by whiskey you mean..." and went on to say all of the bad things that whiskey can do. Here's a brief excerpt:

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children...

If that's what they meant by whiskey, then certainly he opposed it. But, he continued, saying:

But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning

If that's what they meant by whiskey, then surely it was a good thing to have around.