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Terms Which Have Disappeared

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by KILO NOVEMBER, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. OldStrummer

    OldStrummer One of the Regulars

    I always wondered what that odd-sounding accent was called. No one I knew growing up spoke with that kind of accent. Thanks!
  2. That fake movie dialect is actually a bastardization of what used to be called the "Mid-Atlantic accent," a very specific style of speech favored by the upper-class aristocracy of the Northeast. Some people who legitimately spoke it include FDR, Katharine Hepburn, William F. Buckley, and George Plimpton. It was a product of a specific sort of speech education favored in the exclusive prep schools of the Northeast, and was very common in the Era to the Harvard-Yale/Radcliffe-Bryn Mawr crowd.
    3fingers likes this.
  3. 3fingers

    3fingers Practically Family

    I have always thought that one of the things that made FDR so captivating for his radio audience was the fact that 90% of them had never heard that accent. I enjoy listening to his fireside chats a gain and a gain.
  4. Upgrade

    Upgrade Familiar Face

    Is Locust Valley lockjaw some kind of variant?

    Bennett Cerf prominently had it on What’s My Line and bore a strong resemblance to Elmer Fudd.
  5. Cerf is a fascinating specimen for dialect enthusiasts -- he spoke a cross between Mid-Atlantic and an old fashioned New York accent. Both those dialects are non-rhotic, but Cerf lacks the broad-a favored by Mid-Atlantic speakers, instead flattening his a's in the New York manner. You will also hear a bit of "curl-coil merger" in Cerf's speech -- sometimes he tries to suppress it, but it's still there, in much the same way that Vin Scully, after sixty years in California, still says "netwoik."

    You used to hear this "educated" New York accent on radio quite a bit in the Era. John Kieran, the erudite New York Times sports columnist who was a regular for many years on "Information Please," spoke this way, as did Milton Cross, long the announcer for the Metropolitan Opera. But the idea, today, of an "educated New York accent" is inconceivable.

    That "lockjaw" dialect was an element of Mid-Atlantic, usually when it was being exaggerated for comic effect. Think of Jim Backus as Hubert Updike or Thurston Howell -- that's exactly what he's parodying.
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  6. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    I don't know if this has been brought up recently but I have only just read it.
    I am not trying to bring up political rants but good on President Trump for trying to re establish Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays as the foremost festive greeting at this time of year.
    HadleyH1 likes this.
  7. Love the graphic and love the lettering. Putting the politics aside, doesn't "The Season's greetings!" sound awkward versus what we say today "Season's Greetings." Seems like I've noticed this before where an article gets dropped from a phrase over time.
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  8. And as I always admonish:

  9. "Seasons Greetings" as we use it today was the more common version in the Era. I think they used the "The" there just to give it added panache.

  10. 3fingers

    3fingers Practically Family

    My folks used to send out a bundle of Christmas cards. I recall them spending several evenings preparing them and writing notes in a certain number of them for people they had known in the past, mostly from my dad's time in the service. They always used Christmas seals on the envelopes. I believe that they are still around, but I haven't seen any of the seals in years.
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  11. HadleyH1

    HadleyH1 Practically Family


    :) What has Saturnalia to do with wishing people a Merry Christmas?

    You lost me there :)
  12. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    December 17th-23rd, feasting, exchanging gifts, special attention to the poor and to children. Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it?

    Wishing you all the best over this festive season!


    As a collector of (among many other things) greeting cards I note with amusement the surprising percentage which mention only "holidays", " the season", or "Xmas". I suspect that most "moderns" would be shocked.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  13. HadleyH1

    HadleyH1 Practically Family


    I'm sorry but for me, for what I've read, Saturnalia is a pagan week-long Roman festival honoring the god Saturn.

    Nothing to do with Christ or Christmas.

    I do not celebrate Saturn, if you do I respect your ideas, I guess.

    I do not celebrate that , I celebrate Christ.
  14. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Well, of course.

    Even so, the early Church rather co-opted the existing pagan ( Roman, Greek, and other) Solstice celebrations. After all, informed scholarship from the Third Century to the present day has considered the December 25th natal date to be a mere pious fiction.
  15. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    Season's Greatings has aways been an acceptable alternate version for Christmas cards etc, usually accompanied by pictures of decorated tree's, piles of presents and happy smiling faces and even sometimes religious images that we associate with Christmas.
    The argument that there were other winter celebrations at the same time does not come into it as we don't really know when any of these historical figures such as Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad etc were born so an acceptable date has been established by someone, or maybe not?
    Some people out there decide it would be better if we take away the pleasantries and generalise the greeting so as not to offend anyone, if indeed anyone was offended in the first place.
    I am not a religious campaigner or anything like that, I rarely go to Church but I do think if you use the word Christmas it must include Jesus(Christ) and those who do push 'Happy Holidays' are probably aiming it at either Christians or at least those who celebrate Christmas such as Coca Cola with their truck.
    Were I be approached by a Jewish person and wished Happy Hanukkah I would think he meant I had a peaceful time during their celebrations as well as being wished a Happy Diwali, as I have been by Hindu workmates.
    vitanola and ChiTownScion like this.

  16. The "X," of course, having its origin in the Greek "Χριστός." Or as transliterated into English: Christ. "X" (actually, Chi) is the first letter of the word, Christ, as it is written in extant manuscripts of the books of the New Testament. A lot of Pastor Billy Bob types, who never had to pass an intro Greek course at a legitimate seminary, want to attach a more sinister "x-ing out Christ" designation to it, but it actually is quite benign.. if not straight- out "biblical."

    It is a source of amusement that so many of the good folks who are into amping up this annual "war on Christmas " bilge are the same ones who want us to go back to the good old days and re- introduce the values of Puritan forefathers. Fact is, the Puritans (both in the colonies and those of the Oliver Cromwell stripe in the Mother Country) were militantly opposed to any commemoration of the 25th of December as "the birthday of Jesus." Any festivities on the 25th of December celebrating the Nativity were punishable under law.

    Setting up a crèche scene with Baby Jesus wasn't a practice which the Founders would have embraced: a good many of them, particularly those of the Northeast, would have decried it as "papist pageantry." The celebration of Christmas as a religious holiday did not commence in earnest in the United States until the large wave of German immigration in the 1840's. Thank the Lutheran and the Catholic immigrants for the religious aspects of the holiday, because those good New England Puritans- including those sainted Pilgrims of Plymouth Massachusetts- wanted no part of it.
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  17. Indeed so. In fact, the "Christmas" traditions we observe today and think of as emblematic as A Real Olde Fashioned Christmas don't go back much further anywhere in the English-speaking world than the Victorian era. Christmas has been an officially-recognized legal holiday in the US only since 1873, which not in the least bit coincidentally is about the time the granddaddies of the Boys were awakening as to the commercial possibilities of the occasion.

    The "x-ing out of Christ" for X-mas canard was a favorite piece of fundraising material for the late and unlamented Rev. Gerald Lucifer KKKodfish Smith (with a tip of the hat to W. Winchell.)

    I don't really care one way or another what people say for a greeting -- doesn't affect me in the least, and I don't know anybody in my immediate circle of pinko friends who cares. Whatever. What I do think is hilarious is when you get some damaged soul complaining that a business is insufficiently commercializing the Christmas holiday. OMG THEY'RE TAKING THE CHRIST OFF OF THE COFFEE CUPS.

    Paging thru the archives of the Brooklyn Eagle recently, I came across an interesting story from December 1946 describing how a school principal in the Borough of Churches banned religious Christmas carols from his school, out of acknowledgement that a large percent of his students did not profess to be Christians, and forcing them to violate their faith by singing songs of another religion would be inappropriate. There was a rumpus over this, shoved aggressively to the fore by the Knights of Columbus, and there was quite a bit of anger on both sides of the debate before the superintendant brokered a compromise. There is truly nothing new under the sun. (That's from Ecclesiastes...)
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  18. Yep. Shepherds would not have been in the fields with their flocks in December. Most theories hold that Jesus was probably born some time in the early fall. But the idea of a Nativitiy feast coinciding with the ancient festivals of the "Rebirth of the Sun" was obviously too good for the dominies of the early church to resist. Hard to break old habits.
  19. Amen (is that allowed tee-hee)

    I'm presently reading a novel, "Angel Pavement," written in England in 1930 and a young lady (a secretary) asks a young man (a clerk) out on a date - she got tickets to a show and asked him to join her. So, so much for women not asking men out in "the old days." She liked him, flirted with him and, when that didn't work, she asked him out. And it wasn't treated as a big deal, just presented as something that goes on.

    Also, there is much complaining and hand-wringing about the commercialization of Christmas and "how it starts earlier and earlier each year." There was a mention of how crazy it was that Christmas items and advertising started in October. As Lizzie said, there is truly....
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