‘We was robbed’


In a boxing match on June 21, 1932, Joe Jacob’s fighter was declared the loser of the fight. As soon as Joe Jacob, a professional prize fight manager, heard the ring announcer declare that his fighter had not been awarded the decision, he went to the middle of the ring and grabbed the ring announcer’s microphone and shouted, “We was robbed.” Shouting this very awkward statement made him the darling of linguistic immortality as such saying may be grammatically wrong as the statement may not qualify as a sentence, but it fits the artistic use of language not common in ordinary discourse.

This brings our attention to the recount of the ballots of the Tinian mayoral election. If the Dela Cruz side did not prevail, as it were, they would probably say, “We was robbed.” This statement is a wonderfully effective complaint. But if the San Nicolas faction is declared the winner of the ballot recount, they would joyfully shout out, “We was right” as it should be. This says that facts are the only truth even when one doubts the outcome.

Statements like these are called “enallage” and are used abundantly in Shakespeare’s plays, in the Bible, and represents the art of language followed and practiced by skillful and thoughtful writers. So, our politicians may urge by saying, “am telling to you” which conveys the drift of let me declare what you have to say because I make good representation of what is needed and desirable. Or, something like that, “me knows.”

Francisco R. Agulto
Kannat Tabla, Saipan 

Francisco R. Agulto Reyes

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