”He don’t know shit from Shinola.”
A quick show of hands, how many of us even bother to shine our own shoes anymore?
Yeah, I thought so. Shining one’s own shoes seems to be a relic from the past but if you do make the effort, don’t bother looking for Shinola.
Shinola used to be a popular brand of shoe polish that was available from 1907 through 1960. The phrase that introduced this write up became popular among soldiers during World War II. It was used to describe those amongst the ranks with below average intelligence.
Here’s how Wiki describes the saying:
A colloquialism which dates back to the early 1940s in the United States. Shinola was a once-popular brand of shoe polish, which had a color and texture not unlike feces.
Nice, now there's a product I could sell.
Maybe that’s where The Rolling Stones got the inspiration for the line “Got to scrape the shit right off your shoes” from the song “Sweet Virginia” on Exile on Main Street but I doubt it.
Ironically, some company by the name of Shinola/Detroit LLC actually purchased the name when the original company went bankrupt. Today, they make such things as watches, bicycles, leather goods and journals.
I can’t verify the quality of the products offered by Shinola/Detroit LLC but if I had to hazard a guess that since the city itself recently announced that they were seeking the largest municipal bankruptcy protection in the history of the United States, I’d say it’s a pretty good indicator that it’s still valid.