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Folklore: Squat That Rabbit

GUEST,Norman (can't log in) 28 Dec 08 - 02:49 PM
katlaughing 28 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM
GUEST 28 Dec 08 - 03:32 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 28 Dec 08 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Norman (still logged out) 28 Dec 08 - 04:37 PM
Azizi 28 Dec 08 - 08:48 PM
katlaughing 28 Dec 08 - 08:53 PM
Azizi 28 Dec 08 - 09:01 PM
Azizi 28 Dec 08 - 09:14 PM
Amos 28 Dec 08 - 10:28 PM
Azizi 28 Dec 08 - 11:19 PM
VirginiaTam 29 Dec 08 - 11:48 AM
semi-submersible 31 Dec 08 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,Norman (without password etc) 31 Dec 08 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Owen Scott, III 31 Jul 11 - 09:04 AM
Jim Dixon 31 Jul 11 - 01:13 PM
Jim Dixon 31 Jul 11 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,Christy 10 Jan 12 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,Tull 13 Aug 13 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Michael Stratton 10 Feb 18 - 08:40 AM
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Subject: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST,Norman (can't log in)
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 02:49 PM

Does anyone know the origin of the expression "squat that rabbit"? It's the title of a Taj Mahal hip-hop blues from the early 1990s, which was recently revived by Canadian harp bluesman, Son of Dave.

Is it ghetto speak? A metaphor? A sexual allegory? An instruction to a poacher? Or a butcher? A kid's nonsense song?


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM

I found this reference to it HERE where "Judith" said:

I only heard it used when somebody had been repeatedly carrying on in the same nonproductive fashion seemingly forever and their friend was basically telling them to change their act, go on to something else. The same person (a self-described 'hillbilly') used the phrase when somebody kept harping on the same subject over and over. Sometimes the meanings are shifted by whomever is using them, that is, if one culture adopted the saying from another.

She also said, I've heard the term "(it's time to) squat that rabbit" as meaning it's time to change what you're doing right now, enough already. But when the song goes "baaad rabbit" (Taj Mahal), sounds to me like "rabbit" refers to the male anatomy.

And, here is a youtube vid of the man himself doing Squat that Rabbit!

I wondered if it had anything to do with the rabbit dying in a pregnancy test, as in the "old days" but listening to the song, I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 03:32 PM

Thanks, Kat. I engaged in that earlier on-line discussion! I wanted further references of useage, if possible. Judith's earlier mention is from a (soi-disant) hillbilly - I wondered if there is any Afro-American useage.


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 04:02 PM

"Squat" is usually used as an intransitive verb ("The rabbit squats by the fence."), but it can be used as a transitive verb meaning to make someone or something squat. Thus, "Squat that rabbit," can be rephrased as "Make that rabbit squat."

Why make the rabbit squat? Because cowering (squatting) is a rabbit's normal wakened state. The only time a rabbit isn't squatting is when it's engaged in the act of making more rabbits. A person's mindless babbling or incessant carrying on about a subject can be likened to a rabbit's rampant procreation. The only way to stop it is to get the rabbit to stop procreating - to squat that rabbit.


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST,Norman (still logged out)
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 04:37 PM

Thanks BWL. I don't know if you're British or not, or more particularly a Londoner, or even a Chas & Dave fan, but your comment "A person's mindless babbling or incessant carrying on about a subject can be likened to a rabbit's rampant procreation" reminded me of the cockney rhyming slang word, rabbit. When someone rabbits on, they just won't stop talking. Rabbit = rabbit and pork (talk). Chas & Dave's song "Rabbit" contains the memorable line "You've got more rabbit than Sainsbury's". Nah I'm not explaining!


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 08:48 PM

I'm African American, and fwiw, I've never heard the phrase "squat that rabbit".

But I have heard {and informally used, though not with a lot of frequency} the word "squat" {meaning "nothing"}. And I've definitely used the word "doodel-lee squat" or "doodly squat" {however it's spelled and pronounced} more often than that. "Doodly" intensifies the word "squat" giving "doodly squat" the meaning of "absolutely nothing". "Doodly squat" is a more polite way of saying "not a dammed thing". I suppose that definition is close to "a person's mindless babbling" but it's not the same as "incessant carrying on about a subject" except that by doing so, the person makes that subject completely incomprehensible and therefore totally meaningless.


Also, "to squat" means "to sit down on your haunches" {and not with your 'bottom' on the ground}. This position could be associated with a person or an{other} animal shitting outside {or as some children might say "going to the bathroom and doing 'number two'". And except for its use as fertilizer, something that is "shit" or something "shitty" is a thing of little value. And that takes us back to the "doodelee squat" {doodly squat} meaning that I cited first.

Btw, I don't think that either squat or doodly squat are just used or mainly used African Americans. Maybe they are a regional thing {I'm from the Eastern part of the USA}. And I don't know whether that word and that phrase originated with African Americans and then were adopted by other people.

??


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 08:53 PM

I don't think they're regional, Azizi. I heard them growing up out here in the Mountain West, too, only a variation: "diddley squat."


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 09:01 PM

To quote http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Doodly-squat


Doodly-squat

Of no significance, rank or importance. The word "doodle" was in wide slang usage throughout the 19th Century to mean a fool, a clueless soldier or a penis. The term was in wide use during the Great Depression and was joined by the updated version "diddly-shit" in the 1960s.

"My gal is red hot (Your gal ain't doodly-squat)"
-- from the oft-covered 1950s song "Red Hot"
by Bill Peters Oct 6, 2006

-snip-

Off subject, but what oft-covered 1950s song "Red Hot" is this commentator referring to?

**

Here are two meanings for the word "squat" from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=squat


2. squat
nothing or not meaning anything

"that doesnt mean squat"
by verlum May 1, 2004

6. squat   
Taking a shit outdoors..

"i'm'a pop a squat"
by Dizzi Feb 20, 2004

-snip-

Btw, I'm not "Dizzi" {There's nothing wrong with my equilibrium, and I;m not crazy}. And I certainly wouldn't do this. But for what it's worth, I'm quite familiar with the term "pop a squat".

Btw2, it would be incorrect usage to say, "There's squat" wrong with my equilibrium". But if someone called me dizzi, it would be correct vernacular usage if I said that he or she "don't know squat about what they're sayin".


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 09:14 PM

Well, "they" is grammatically incorrect in that sentence. But you know what I meant to write...

Thanks for that info regarding regional use, kat.


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: Amos
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 10:28 PM

"Squat that rabbit" is a very rare usage. I think BWL's explanation (he's a Floribama reneck genius, by the way) is as likely as any we are going to hear on this one. Google finds only the recordings by Taj Mahal and Son of Dave, both riding on the lyrics by Taj Mahal, I believe. Hall and Oates combo'd with Taj on another recording, apparently. The background chant "Squat that rabbit--bad rabbit!" sounds like a reprimand to turn the gentleman's damper down, or put his pecker back in his pocket. I've never heard the expression anywhere else.


There's a reference to the expression in this book by Anita Foster Lovely, "Betrayals" where the expression means to drop a subject and move on to something else:"Squat that rabbit and move on to another one".

In 1931 Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes shared authorship and copyright on a piece called Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in which a preacher approaches a table of blacks playing card, and one of them says to the dealer "Yonder comes Elder Simms. You all better squat that rabbit. They'll be having you all up in the church for playin' cards."

This pretty well defines the expression as meaning "drop that subject or action".


A


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 11:19 PM

Amos, thanks for that information. The word "squat" as given in thsoe examples is probably similar to "squash" meaning "to quickly and irrevocably stop something that was being said or done.

Here's a definition for "squash" from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=squash


"squash
To put a end to.
Resolve.

"You need to squash that beef between you and your dad if you expect to make progress"

by DetroitSlang May 15, 2003

-snip-

Perhaps "squash" is a folk etymology form of "squat". However, the two words that have that same meaning may have come from different sources. The word "squash" may have come from the vegetable. Maybe the definition "to irrevocably stop something" came from the fact that if a squash falls on the ground and splatters all over the place, it certainly isn't good for anything.

**

Here's a short story about a time I heard the word "squash" used in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

From 1998-2006 I collected children's rhymes, mostly from groups of African American girls & boys {about 7-12 years old} at summer camps & after-school programs. One handclap rhyme that I learned was very widely know was "Tweedlelee" {Rockin Robin}. In 2001, I asked a group of children at a neighborhood group if they knew that rhyme. Just about all the children began to "sing" that rhyme while two pairs of girls {who I selected from the many hands that were raised} showed me how they did a handclap routine to it. However, when the group got to the end of one verse, in a firm voice a teenage girl who was working with the younger children said "Squash it!". Just about all the group immediately stopped chanting the rhyme, but a little girl who was caught up in the recitation, continued saying the risque verse "he had a piece of glass/stuck up his..." But before she could get out the-word-that shouldn't-be-said-in front-of-adults, the teenage girl said "Squash it!" even louder, and the girl abruptly stopped singing.

I'm happy to say that, subsequently, I was successful in getting both "clean" versions and "dirty" versions of this children's rhyme-though not from that group of children at that particular time.


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 11:48 AM

In middle class white south eastern Virginia "squat" = physical act as in to squat down or state of not having as Azizi said. I ain't got diddley squat.

Never heard "squat the rabbit" and my maternal grandparents were from Clarksburg West (by god) Virginia.

No one's mentioned squatter's rights or squat as a term for inhabiting an abandoned or unused building or plot of land without owning or holding a formal lease on it; a person squatting is known as a squatter, and the house or building occupied by squatters is known as a squat.


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: semi-submersible
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 03:36 AM

The imagery of this phrase is vivid. I agree with Azizi that its use of "squat" as a transitive verb is parallel to "squash." This use of "squat" could be influenced by both "squash" and "swat." (I'm not sure of the etymology of "squash" but "quash" is a synonym for that verb.)

On seeing a foolish rabbit coming up in the same place repeatedly, you would soon anticipate it and bag the prey with missile or trap. (Well, maybe not now, but a generation or two ago...) If you notice a familiar idea popping up again and again in the same old way, eventually you'll get bored enough to throw something at it, knock it down, or otherwise quash that remark or "squat that rabbit." The silly thing's been hopping around enough already. Stomp on it, somebody, please.

Maybe that's not the original meaning, but it's the image the phrase evokes for me. The anatomical connotation could be an overlay, putting innuendo into a normally innocuous metaphor to add interest to the song.

Trying to read "squat" as "force [the rabbit] into a squatting position" just doesn't work for me. I can't imagine ordinary people who would bother, or wish, to do this. I usually find that folklore imagery evokes some sort of familiar or plausible metaphor (with or without fantasy elements).


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST,Norman (without password etc)
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:06 AM

Thanks for al the contributions so far.

One person who might be prepared to elucidate is Taj Mahal.

Does anyone have contact with him?


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST,Owen Scott, III
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 09:04 AM

Isn't that Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) yelling "Squat that rabbit!" behind the vocal?


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Subject: RE: Squat That Rabbit
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 01:13 PM

From the play "Cold Keener" in Collected Plays by Zora Neale Hurston (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, ©2008), page 86:
    SISTER BUZZARD: (Belligerently) I don't keer who kilt him.... But nobody better not cast no slams at my hotel. (Points to Shack) They bet' not say my shack ain't respectable and they bet' not tell me my eye is black.

    OWL: (Officiously) Hey, Sister Buzzard, let's squat dat rabbit and jump another one. What we wants to know is—who kilt Cock Robin?
From "De Turkey and de Law," ibid, page 145:
    DAVE: [After winning a hand of a card game] (to Walter) Mr. Hoover, you sho is a noble president. We done stuck dese shad-moufs full of cobs. They skeered to play us any mo'.

    LIGE: Who skeered? Y'all jus' playin ketch up nohow. Git back down and lemme wrap uh five-up round yo' neck.

    DAVE: (looking off right) Squat dat rabbit an' less jump another one. Here come Daisy.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Squat That Rabbit
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 01:28 PM

From Wise and Funny Sayings of the Elders By Paula Wyatt Blair (Xlibris Corporation, 2010), page 16:

"I'm gonna squat that rabbit and hop another one...."

When the elders said this, they meant they didn't want to talk about the subject any more.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST,Christy
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 11:21 PM

I don't think it's Captain Beefheart saying "squat that rabbit", it sounds like Taj to me. He does that froggy voice thing sometimes. It's quite different from his usual singing voice.
Good discussion on a lovely, colorful expression. Thanks all.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST,Tull
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 09:58 AM

Just a thought on the song's context: lyrically, it's both an admission by the the singer that he fooled around and hurt his woman, and a caution to young brothers to cease dogging their Nubian princesses...so, "squat that rabbit" warns the listener to stop running around in the same old unfaithful circles.
If the the listener can stop laughing long enough to puzzle it out, that is... it's that catchy, acid-house production propelling it, combined with the "squat that rabbit" old-timey uncle's voice as a counterpoint that makes this song a hilarious earworm that stands out from the rest of Taj's record. It also kinda puts me in mind of Moby's mixup of Alan Lomax's field recording on "Natural Blues (Troulbe So Hard)"...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Squat That Rabbit
From: GUEST,Michael Stratton
Date: 10 Feb 18 - 08:40 AM

Sounds like a heroine reference to me.


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