1. I was just reading about his usage of this in 1903, and how easily his contemporaries wanted to gloss over the “speak softly” part and jump right to the stick (in Theodore Rex.) Everyone always wants to jump straight to the stick!

  2. Thanks Rob! Mark, that’s totally right, and while people always get the big stick part right, they often misquote “speak softly” as “walk softly.” I’m pretty sure Teddy never actually says that, and the carelessness of misquotation indicates what you’re pointing out.

  3. My pleasure, Zz. I dig all your stuff, but am especially partial to “where did [familiar thing whose origin we never think about] come from?” stories.

  4. Old Weird America, FTW. And this particular story has it all: a made-up fantasy of Africa which turns white, with a little detour into quasi-racialized Irish.

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