Tea Party Speaker calls for Senator Patty Murray to Be ‘Hung’

At a Tea Party rally in Asotin, WA, one of the Tea Party speakers had this to say about Senator Patty Murray.

“How many of you have watched the movie Lonesome Dove?,” asked one speaker from the podium. “What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd. He got hung. And that’s what I want to do with Patty Murray.”

I realize that the Tea Party crowd will no doubt use this as an excuse to tar me as an “elitist”, but I can’t let this go by. The proper way to say the sentence I highlighted in bold is “He was hanged,” not “He got hung.” When referring to the act of being put to death by hanging, hanged, not hung, is the appropriate past tense and past participle.

Additionally, “got” is the past tense of “get.” The most common definition of “get” is “to take possession of.” However, in Lonesome Dove, Jake did not “take possession of” hanged–that wouldn’t make sense. It’s clear that the speaker is trying to use “got” as a passive voice auxiliary, and so the correct word to use is “was.”

I just can’t sit idly by and watch the English language be degraded like that.

As a quick aside, I also feel obligated to point out that the novel Lonesome Dove is far superior to the TV-movie adaptation.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Dodd says:
  2. Dave says:

    I’m afraid you’re too critical of this homicidal activist; “got” has been a long accepted regional variant of the passive voice auxiliary, especially when referring to receiving punishment.

    Perhaps the speaker could have said “he got a hanging” (we still say “he got 20 years” or “he got a spanking,” for example.) But that’s clumsy and lacking elegance. “He got hung” is old west style conjugation, much more stylish, easily evoking the lawless/libertarian west, where men were men and the guv’ment stayed out our business.

    If you don’t want to see the English language degraded in this way, you should hop in your DeLorean to pre-Civil War Colorado.

  3. anjin-san says:

    As I remember it, Lonesome Dove was a mini-series, not a movie.

    The book was fantastic, even better than the outstanding TV adaption.

  4. Sai-Kit Hui says:

    “They said you was hung”.
    “And they was right.”

    -Blazing Saddles

  5. TangoMan says:

    That was funny. Bravo.

  6. Mike says:

    My wife has been bugging me about reading it – I figured I watched the mini series and that is enough – you have convinced me to read it.

  7. MC says:

    Thanks Alex! I appreciate that you, the grand master of English grammar and syntax have given us this profound critique of the grammar of someone at CPAC.

    I know that I take all my cues from you as to what is, grammatically, right or wrong. You have never (in your entire blogging life) made a grammatical mistake in all of your blog posts. Such perfection is commendable.

    I’m sure you are even more precise and profound when you speak off the cuff!

  8. Mr. Prosser says:

    Well, Alex at least MC thinks you are elitist. If you’re not careful Tim Pawlenty will accuse you of liking Brie and Chablis. Dave, I like the post-civil war Colorado style of speaking. Supposedly when the judge sentenced Alfred Packer the Colorado cannibal he said, “Thar was only seven Democrats in Hinsdale County and you et five of ’em!” Do Democrats go well with tea?

  9. Bill H says:

    The book was so good that I was reluctant to read another book by Larry McMurtry, concerned that it might not be as good. (Not entirely rational, I know, but…) I finally took the plunge ansd read a couple of his others. Turns out he only wrote one good book.

    Anyway, the TV miniseries was really good, though.

  10. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Alex, why do you not monitor the Daily KOS? I am sure you could report here, what your friends and associates over there have to say.

  11. Steve Plunk says:

    So a less than well read hick in a small Washington town not only says too much but says it wrong. That’s it? That’s worth talking about? You’re grasping at anything to make Tea Party participants look bad aren’t you?

  12. TangoMan says:

    Come on guys, Alex made a funny here. Must the joke be explained? It’s a classic bait and switch – he brings up the subject matter and the reader expects him to launch into a typical leftist diatribe and instead he pulls the grammar police schtick.

    He was very clever and funny here. Props where they’re due.

  13. Dodd says:

    I know that I take all my cues from you as to what is, grammatically, right or wrong. You have never (in your entire blogging life) made a grammatical mistake in all of your blog posts.

    Lighten up, Francis

  14. Brett says:

    The problem with “He got hung” is that it has other connotations. I’ve seen “got hung” used as a metaphor for someone with an erection.

  15. Clovis says:

    Always liked the Terry Pratchett version.

    “… a man is hanged, meat is hung.”

    “Very well then. He was hanged before he was hung.”

    Or something like that. It’s been a while.

  16. Franklin says:

    Come on guys, Alex made a funny here. Must the joke be explained?

    Apparently the answer is yes. This was an instant classic, perhaps even more so because of the number of people who didn’t get it.

  17. Gustopher says:

    Perhaps there needs to be some sort of literacy test to keep people like that from voting.