I saw Foxcatcher over the weekend, and I must say, what an intense movie. Though, after my initial thoughts on the film, I was left wondering, why the name “Foxcatcher”? Not that the film’s title is Foxcatcher—that’s the name of the farm that John E. du Pont converted into a wrestling training center, which also became his wrestling team’s name—but why was the farm itself named “Foxcatcher”. The film depicts the horses on the farm were used for thouroughbred racing, not fox hunting.
And in real life, that’s true; these were racehorses, but the answer lies in the history of John E. du Pont’s father, William du Pont, Jr. The original name of the farm was Liseter Hall Farm where du Pont, Jr. established a large Thoroughbred racing stable in the 1920s; he raced its horses under the nom de course, Foxcatcher Farm, which also lent its name to his foxhound pack The Foxcatcher Hounds. After his mother’s death in 1988, John E. du Pont assumed stewardship of Liseter Farm and renamed it “Foxcatcher Farm”, after his father’s famed Thoroughbred racing stable.
So now you may be asking, “Why the du Pont history lesson?” Well, that’s because it’s tangentially related to this week’s Cockney rhyming slang, “berk”. Berk is Cockney rhyming slang for cunt.
“Berk” is a contraction of “Berkeley Hunt“, which is the oldest pack of foxhounds in England. To add to the confusion, the “berk” in “Berkeley” is pronounced like the word “bark” (/ˈbɑrk/), but the Cockney rhyming slang “berk” is pronounced just as it looks (/ˈbɜrk/). So, if you’re ever called a berk, know that the person is actually calling you a cunt.
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