Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The last Mencken post

A Variety headline:

Pash Flaps M. C.
Fan Clubs Rated
Worthless to Theatres
As B. O. Gag.

Quoted in H. L. Mencken, The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States , 4th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936).

Can you figure out what this headline is saying? Mencken gives a paraphrase as it appeared in the Manchester Guardian , January 30, 1930. No spoilers here: it’s in the comments.

Also from The American Language
The American a : The American v. the Englishman : Anglic : “Are you a speed-cop? : Benjamin Franklin and spelling : B.V.D. : English American English : Franco-American : “[N]o faculty so weak as the English faculty” : On professor : Playing policy : Proper names in America : “There are words enough already” : The -thon , dancing and walking Through -thing and -thin’ : Vaudevillians at play : The verb to contact

[Finally made it to the end of this book.]

comments: 4

Michael Leddy said...

Translation: “impassioned young women (flaps, flappers) organized into clubs because of their admiration for the master of ceremonies (usually the leader of the orchestra), have been found useless as a device for increasing box-office receipts.”

Frex said...

Like texting!

To the side --it's interesting to hear about fans in history.
I was just talking to my most fannish friend about the explosion of online fandom art & vids in the past few years (since technology has made it so easy)--I really don't know much about the history of fans before the 1970s (Star Trek zines).
Thanks for piqueing my curiosity...

Michael Leddy said...

Valentino and Sinatra are the first names that come to my mind, though I’m not sure what their fans did. Elaine suggests looking up Lisztomania.

Frex said...

I had no idea. Thanks!