snow bitch

Discuss word origins and meanings.

snow bitch

Post by dalehileman » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:43 pm

Muffled against the arctic air, I walked through the darkening grey streets, trying not to slip on frozen cobbles, to avoid snow bitches, to stay out of the path of the sleighs...--Gore Vidal's "Burr", page 380


The expr must be very obscure because I had never heard it and I can't find it in the usu on-line dictionaries. But I gather that a snow bitch is just about any kind of formation from dripping water

If it's a play on "snowman," then isn't the expr sexist

Thus if Vidal had been able to post his remark, would he not be in danger of being banned, with imprecations from all

No, seriously guys, I need some input on the expr
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snow bitch

Post by russcable » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:57 pm

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snow bitch

Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:05 pm

What, you got a problem with sexist expressions?
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snow bitch

Post by dalehileman » Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:30 pm

russ: Thank you for that link. However, I've been there and hoped you guys might be able to shed more light on the expr
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snow bitch

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:38 pm

Dale, If Mr. Bingley on Wordsmith.org is your source for this quote, you might want to ask him what version of the novel he is referring to and try checking it yourself. I’m sitting here looking at my 1973 copy of Gore Vidal’s Burr – A Novel, ISBN: 0-375-70873-1, and I’m looking on page 380 and it is JUNE, 1835, and there ain’t a SNOW BITCH in sight. Now he might have a different version which could account for the different page numbers. I did scan 20 or so pages before and after, but the difference could be more than that and I missed it. If the quote is accurate, which I have some doubts about - if anything I would guess it said 'snow ditches,' as someone on that site suggested - why don't you find the title of the section so that you and I can see it for ourselves because, to tell you the truth, I am having a hard time swallowing SNOW BITCH pre-1830s – but one never knows.

BTW SNOWMAN was first recorded in 1827 by an English poet, and a quick search didn’t turn up one example in the U.S. prior to the 20th century (other than as a surname), which was a surprise to me, since I would have expected that it had been around and popular quite a while before that. Also, Burr died in 1836 and much of the book is of earlier times, so a play on SNOWMAN, although possible, doesn’t seem real likely. And Vidal doesn't seem like the careless type who would easily let drop what could be caught as an obvious error. If the expression is real, perhaps Vidal saw it in letters and diaries he must have studied to write the book, but it looks to me that the expression never made it into print - at least I couldn't find any 19th-century signs of it, and no 20th or 21st-century signs with that meaning.
_________________

Ken – June 8, 2006
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snow bitch

Post by dalehileman » Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:32 am

Ken, thank you for that. I'm about to give up on this one
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snow bitch

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:58 am

Dale, Don’t give up. Since you have a Wordsmith.org conversation going with Bingley, who provided the quote, why not ask him what version of the book he found it in (publisher, year, ISBN, chapter title) and then this thing can be put to rest one way or the other.
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Ken – June 8, 2006
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snow bitch

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:12 am

Should that fail to resolve the question, there remains the option to contact the author himself, although there is no official Gore Vidal website. One useful academic site (http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/vidalframe.html), operated by Harry Kloman at the University of Pittsburgh, suggests writing either to his editor or his publisher:

-------------------------------

Contacting Gore Vidal

I am a teacher and writer with an interest in the work of Gore Vidal. But I have no personal relationship with Mr. Vidal and cannot forward mail or messages to him.

Mr. Vidal lives most of the year in his home in Los Angeles, although he still spends some time at his villa in Ravello, Italy, while it's on the market. (He gave up permanent residency there in 2003 and moved back to the U.S.) It's my understanding that he does not use e-mail or correspond with people over the internet. So the best way to contact him - in fact, the best way to contact any writer - is by sending a letter to his editor and publisher.

Vidal's last few books have been with Avalon/ Nation Books, so you can always try sending him a letter there. His most recent book with them, Imperial America (2004), lists the following address for the publisher:

Avalon Publishing Group
245 W. 17th St., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10011

Publishing firms are accustomed to getting letters addressed to their authors and will most likely forward them, although it may take a month or so for the letter to get to the author. I understand from people who have written to Mr. Vidal that he writes back, if only briefly because of the volume of mail he no doubt receives.

Vidal has recently also done a number of hour-long programs on WBAI radio in New York, and the radio station broadcast an e-mail address for listeners who wanted to send him a note. Here is the address: GoreVidal@wbai.org. I can't say how long this address will be active, although I'm quite certain that Vidal himself does not check the mail. Rather, someone at WBAI probably forwards it to him.

Finally, Greater Talent Network Inc. claims to represent Vidal for the purpose of speaking engagements. The company's web site has information on how to contact them about booking Vidal.

--------------------------------

If, despite all your efforts, nothing avails, you can try consoling yourself with one of Vidal's own remarks:

"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."
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snow bitch

Post by dalehileman » Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:50 pm

Erik thank you most kindly

But it would seem from the dearth of response that the expression is far too obscure for my purposes and so I won't pester the poor fellow, esp since it's not a sure thing that's what he really said
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snow bitch

Post by dalehileman » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:00 pm

Ken, indeed I'll do that. However, Bing isn't yet forthcoming, and I don't entertain much further hope
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snow bitch

Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:28 am

Dale, SNOW-BITCH lives! - that's lives with a short i. I was beginning to think the whole thing was a hoax as I got to reading the last 100 pages of the Vidal's historical novel Burr, but there it was on page 324 of the 1973 Vintage Books edition. The only discrepancy I noticed is that Vidal had it hyphenated and that in the said paragraph the color is spelled 'gray' and not 'grey.'

After doing as thorough a literature search as I could do, and discounting the current derogatory female web references, I found not one example of the term. I also contacted Joan Huston Hall, editor of the Dictionary of Regional English (DARE), who has massive files containing far more words and phrases than appear in in their dictionary, and she said that she never heard of it and has nothing on file on it.

Since you seem to have lost interest in the phrase and I'm still curious, I will take a shot at trying to contact Vidal as Erik suggested and finding out how he defined the term and where he dug it up. 'A snowball in hell' does come to mind, but one never knows!
____________________

Ken - August 15, 2006
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snow bitch

Post by dalehileman » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:13 pm

Guys thanks for your interest. Be looking Fwd to Ken's result
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snow bitch

Post by mongrowl » Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:40 pm

One thought is that it could be a typo of "snow ditch".
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Re: snow bitch

Post by LedByTheNose » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:07 pm

[quote="dalehileman"]Muffled against the arctic air, I walked through the darkening grey streets, trying not to slip on frozen cobbles, to avoid snow bitches, to stay out of the path of the sleighs...--Gore Vidal's "Burr", page 380[/quote]


Came by this thread by way of looking up 'mephitic' (treasure trove here on that) which came from the etymology of 'nitrogen' .... "Snow bitch" was included in the mephitic thread and curiosity voted to follow the path. :)

My guess is that the author has given an interesting name to 'feces covered by snow' that one can inadvertantly step upon. With horse and buggy, that could be a substantial experience, eh?

Took a while for me to find any kind of confirmation of my initial thoughts, but found:

"It's also a real treat to step in the snow covered dog feces left by people in parks."

and

Snow-covered turd (blog) by Scott Savoie:

"The dog must have left it on the sidewalk on Rosza utca in the seventh district of Budapest at around 5:30 or 6 a.m., I’d imagine. Judging by the feces’ shape and mass and from what I know of the breed, I think it may have been left by a Shitzsu.

It just sat there for a couple of hours, lying low, getting covered in snow. Maybe it got kicked once or twice lying there on the sidewalk, but mostly it was intact.

On the outside, the shitballs may have frozen but inside they remained steamy and warm. Collecting snow. Until approximately 7:37 a.m. when I came frolickling through it.

Oh, the Humanity! Oh, the Canineity! What camoflage! What subterfuge! How was I to know there was a stool sample under all that snow?

It makes me want to hit them in the face with a rolled-up newspaper and hold their nose to the sullied snow, screaming, "Look what you did! Look what you did!!!”

(I would like to do this to the dog owners, of course – not the dogs.)

Hungarians say that stepping in dog poo is good luck; if that’s true, I should go buy a Lotto ticket. Today must be my lucky day."

'Snow bitches' seems to fit pretty well now, eh? :)
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Re: snow bitch

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:38 pm

.. ah the memories .. our Dale in full flight .. I wonder where he is these days ?? .. still writing his neologism book ?? .. who knows ..

WoZ thinking back
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