Like a red rag to a bull to Belloc fans

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Like a red rag to a bull to Belloc fans

Postby seamas o dalaigh » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:28 pm

This should set the cat among the pigeons.

Belloc had the bad luck to mistake himself for a serious writer. In his long and frantically busy life, he published more than a hundred and forty books and pamphlets—histories, biographies, novels, poetry collections, economic tracts, fervent defenses of the Catholic faith—few of which were widely read during his lifetime, and almost none of which are in print today.


https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-tu ... nary-tales
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Re: Like a red rag to a bull to Belloc fans

Postby Val Garcia » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:24 pm

I don't get the cat and pigeon thing. Must be an Australian saying.
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Re: Like a red rag to a bull to Belloc fans

Postby lasaxman » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:48 am

Val Garcia wrote:I don't get the cat and pigeon thing. Must be an Australian saying.

I think it is similar to "stirring the pot". In other words, creating a disturbance or controversy. Stimulating discussion.
Imagine what would happen if you tossed a cat into the middle of a flock of pigeons.
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Re: Like a red rag to a bull to Belloc fans

Postby inthegobi » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:13 pm

Val Garcia wrote:I don't get the cat and pigeon thing. Must be an Australian saying.


*Cat Among the Pigeons* is the title of an Agatha Christie mystery, and it's the first place I saw it. But you're right, it's not an American thing to say, anymore certainly.

A brouhaha, a kerfuffle, a bombshell, a turd in the swimming pool...

But the article seems accurate enough: Belloc's light verse is more enduring, and most of it is for adults, not children. In fact I bet Edward Gorey took a cue from Belloc.

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Re: Like a red rag to a bull to Belloc fans

Postby seamas o dalaigh » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:48 pm

Val,

I had no idea the expression was unknown in the US. How very colourless of your dialect!

Throwing (also putting and setting) the cat among the pigeons is a British idiom used to describe a disturbance caused by an undesirable person from the perspective of a group.

Another use of the term is to "cause an enormous fight or flap, usually by revealing a controversial fact or secret", or in other words: to do something suddenly or unexpectedly which leaves the people worried or angry.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throw_the ... he_pigeons

In colonial India, a popular pastime was to put a wild cat in a pen with pigeons. Bets would be made on how many birds the cat would bring down with one paw-swipe. The period of the British colonisation of India may have introduced this concept, and hence the phrase to the English language.


I take it "colonial India" is American for the British Raj.
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