A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Bigotes, Bigots & Mustachios
Friday, September 28, 2012

"The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract." Oliver Wendell Holmes, père



George Waterhouse Hayward

This morning I tried to remember if my father wore a moustache. I wasn’t sure. It came to mind because of a wonderful story in my NY Times about men with moustaches, particularly those in American football and baseball teams.

I have to admit that I had to go to my blogger search engine (far faster than leafing through the family albums) and looked for George. I found my father and sure enough he did sport a moustache.

Now bigote is the Spanish word for moustache. The on-line Diccionario de la Real Academia (RAE). My grandmother called it “el mataburros” or donkey killer. A burro in Spanish is anybody who might be dense or intelligence-impaired.

(Quizá del al. bei Got, por Dios).


The RAE, on the origin of the word, was oblique, uncertain, quite proper coming from a language in which the vague assertions of the subjunctive mood put into question everything except with the very Catholics, the very existence of God.


Camerino Urbina aka El Borrado

So bigot may come from the German expression bei Gott which means “by God” and to some with historical memory a very important part of those who swore allegiance to Hitler. It is not difficult to see that the word bigot in English comes from the same route and one wonders if the original religious hypocrites, who were first labeled bigots, may have sported Rollie Fingers mustachios.

I am now trying to remember if my memory of feeling the sharpness of my father’s moustache when he kissed me is one that is real or now imagined. As one gets older, memories such as these are impalpable as the reality of a dream when one wakes up.

As for the quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes, the man, whose son became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, he, the father, has been much in my thoughts. I am reading Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club (I have read his The Poe Shadow and The Last Dickens). In this novel Oliver Wendell Holmes, a poet, essayist and physician teams up with James Russell Lowell and Henry Wardsworth Longfellow to translate Dante’s Magnus opus into English. Longfellow, almost forgotten in this 21st century, is the only American (and non English) poet represented in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Such is the enthusiasm of Pearl’s descriptions of those Boston men that I am now prepared to tackle Oliver Wendell Holmes’s The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.



Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Here then is a photograph of my father, Camerino Urbina, aka El Borrado, a Texas cowboy, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. As far as I know none of them were ever accused of bigotry. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the physician, never wore a moustache.

As for me I sometimes think I am an odd man. I have never grown a moustache, a beard or ever wanted to buy a motorcycle.



     

Previous Posts
The Gentleman Wore Red Socks

Abraham Jedidiah Rogatnick - The Architect & His C...

Acacia Schachte - That Exquisite Singularity

A Lizard Visits Lillooet

Living With Ron Thom

M's Birthday Party

Alex, Brother Cadfael, Casi-Casi & A Warm Bench

Down South - Point Mistake

Lauren Stewart On Superia

Rebecca At Boundary Bay On Sunday



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10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17