Probably, the construction of this phrase began: “If the heat (of summer) is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” The phrase was also said of winter. A variant became: “If defeat’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” These variants are cited in the 1940s and 1950s. It is not known if the joke began with Texas weather and its heat.
By about 1950, the phrase became a sick barroom “joke”: “Confucius say: if rape’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” The meteorologist for the local ABC television station in New York City, “Tex” Antoine (who was raised in Texas), repeated this rape “joke” on the air after a 1976 news report of a rape. He was suspended and then fired.
In March 1990, Republican Clayton Williams, Jr. was running against Democrat Ann Richards for Texas governor. Williams compared the Texas weather to rape—if it’s inevitable, then relax and enjoy it. Candidate Williams was criticized for the comment and an aplogy was issued, but it was one of several mistakes that cost him the election to Ann Richards.
Wikipedia: Clayton Williams
Clayton Wheat Williams, Jr. (b. 1931), a businessman from Midland, Texas, was the unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1990 against the Democratic State Treasurer Dorothy Ann Willis Richards even though he initially led in opinion polls by twenty points.
1990 Texas gubernatorial race
Earlier, Williams made an infamous joke to reporters, likening bad weather to rape, quipping, “as long as it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”
Wikipedia: Tex Antoine
Herbert Jon Antoine, Jr. (April 21, 1923 – January 12, 1983), known professionally as Tex Antoine, was an American meteorologist on New York City television for nearly three decades. He was born as Herbert Jon Antoine, Jr., in Illinois, and was raised in California and Texas.
Rape quip and final years
On November 24, 1976, his weather spot came up just after a report of a violent rape of a five year old girl. Tex thereupon quipped: “With rape so predominant in the news lately, it is well to remember the words of Confucius: ‘If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.’” Roger Grimsby led the 11 p.m. newscast that night with the official apology from WABC. His joke got Tex Antoine suspended, then fired. Antoine closed out his career with a brief stint as weatherman for WNEW-TV in 1977.
The World’s Heaviest Art Gallery
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Like the man once said about Texas weather: There isn’t much you can do about it, so you might as well enjoy it.
The Feminist Reader:
Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism
by Catherine Belsey and Jane Moore
Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing
1997 (2nd edition)
My reference here is to the 1990 Texas gubernatorial candidate, Clayton Williams, who in a press conference remarked that Texas weather is like rape: [Pg. 248—ed.] “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” That Williams lost the election to Ann Richards bears remembering. Her victory slogan read: “A woman’s place is in the Dome.” For a fuller account of the incident, see Jan Jarboe, “Clayton Williams: Onward to the Past,” Texas Monthly, October 1990.
26 January 1943, Uniontown (PA) Evening Standard, pg. 1, col. 1:
Winter back in the groove and that’s okay by us. Like Caesar said, it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.
27 August 1943, Yank, the Army Weekly, pg. 6, col. 1:
If backslapping was inevitable, he reasoned, relax and enjoy it.
4 July 1946, Spirit Lake (Iowa) Beacon, pg. 11?, col. 1 ad:
SUMMER IS INEVITABLE!
Relax and Enjoy It!
13 May 1948, Chester (PA) Times, pg. 36, col. 6:
Confucious say, “When television is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”—BJA
Dec. 21, 1950
People v. Sullivan, 101 Cal.App.2d 322, 225 P.2d 645 (Cal.App. 1 Dist., 1950)
Instead, he drove her to McLaren Park, parked the car and told her she was going to be raped and that she might as well relax and enjoy it
16 July 1952, New Castle (PA) News, pg. 15, col. 1 ad:
The heat’s inevitable…
so just relax
and enjoy it with
6 February 1954, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, pg. 4, col. 8:
When defeat is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.
May 31, 1954
Georgia Supreme Court Reports - SMITH v. STATE, 210 Ga. 713 (1954)
THE statement to you that — `Confucius say, “THE rape being unavoidable to relax and enjoy It”? I will ask you what was your reaction to that statement?
14 April 1963, Kingston (Jamaica) Gleaner, pg. 36?, col. 3:
After a certain point, even the most self-willed do as the Chinese merchant’s daughter did on the advice of her sage father.
“When rape is inevitable,” he advised her, “relax and enjoy it.”
22 July 1971, Winnipeg (Canada) Free Press, pg. 1, col. 6:
Winnipeg Police Chief Norman Stewart countered municipal opposition to one big Greater Winnipeg police force Wednesday with the flat statement that such a force is inevitable.
Quipped the chief:
“To them I say what Confucius said: ‘When rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.’”
24 June 1974, Pasadena (CA) Star-News, “Rape—A Social Dilemma,” pg. A5, col. 1:
“It is an outrageous assumption that any woman who is being terrorized, oppressed and debased can either relax or enjoy it,” said Ms. Plate in response to a question about the barroom joke, “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, August 28, 2007 • Permalink