[lit-ideas] Re: Mitfordiana

  • From: Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2015 18:12:20 -0600

And, of course, Senor Speranza forgot to mention that the word "Memphis"
meant "City of Good Abode" to the Egyptians of old.  Apparently the
Egyptians of old were very parsimonious with their words.  What images the
word "Memphis" brought to mind in the minds of the Egyptians of old, I for
one, have no idea.  Though it's possible that they too (the Egyptians of
old) may well have been lovers of barbecue or barbeque or BarBcue, if you
so prefer, and that it was the barbecue that made the city of Memphis,
Egypt, a city of good abode.  "The  word 'barbecue' has been spelled
several ways since coming into English from the Spanish *barbacoa *in the
18th century (its earlier origins are fuzzy, though the conventional wisdom
is that the Spanish adapted it from a term used among Caribbean natives).  In
the OED’s historical examples there are *barbecu*, *barbacue*, *barbicu*,
and *abracot*, and today there are several abbreviated forms,
including *bar-b-q
*and just *BBQ*. Despite the many forms, *barbecue* gained clear ascendancy
in the late 19th century, and it has gone unchallenged ever since.  Memphis
is famous for Elvis and barbecue and the Blues  (W. C. Handy, of course,
made famous the Blues with "Memphis Blues" and "The Beale Street Blues."  A
that time it was called "Race Music" -- in fact any music that was written
by, performed by or preferred by Blacks was called Race Music.  That's
always seemed such a bizarre name for anything really.  It must be one of
the earliest attempts to find an alternative for the "N" word.  Rather a
sweet gesture by good white folks to be so considerate of black folks'
feelings, you've got to admit. But of course this is the City of Good

On Sun, Feb 15, 2015 at 3:38 PM, Redacted sender Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx for
DMARC <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> My last post today!
> Geary: "If you were in Memphis and you said "I feel like some  Rendezvous?"
>  Everyone would know that you were saying: "Let's go to the  Rendezvous
> Restaurant and eat the best damn barbecued ribs in the whole damn  world.""
> In a message dated 2/15/2015 4:10:02 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx objects:
> "Presumably as long as you were in Memphis,  Tennessee, and not visiting a
> historical site near Cairo."
> This brings us back to Palma's apt observation:
> "Padua university is called Padua University exactly because both Padua
> city and Padua University exist and Padua city got there way before  the
> university and its faculties came into being."
> By the same token, it might be argued that the historical site near Cairo
> referred to by Omar 'got there' "way before" what some refer to as "New
> Memphis".
> New Memphis was founded by the trio John Overton, James Winchester, and
> Andrew Jackson and named after Old Memphis, the old capital of Egypt  on
> the
> Nile. The founders, who were amateur egyptologists, planned for a  large
> city
> to be built on the site and went to on lay out a plan featuring a  regular
> grid of streets interrupted by four town squares, to be named (i)
> Exchange,
> (ii) Market, (iii) Court, and (iv) Auction, which they found were  lacking
> in Old Memphis.
> >If you were in [New] Memphis and said, 'I feel like some  Rendezvous?'
> equivocates on 'say'. Capital "R" in "Rendezvous" cannot literally be said.
>  In Old Memphis, as Omar notes, the utterance may invite the implicature
> that you  feel like meeting someone in the ancient capital of Egypt.
> Unless you are a Frenchman, for a Frenchman cannot use 'rendezvous' without
>  thinking 'vous' which kills the implicature -- since it would literally
> indicate  that the utterer is wanting to meet the addressee ('vous') which
> he
> already  has.
> As Flanagan and Allen write in "Inky Dinky Parley-Vous", "the phrase
> "rendez vous" is imperative in meaning -- and should be best translated as
> "Present yourselves!", as used in the military, e.g. by a sargeant
> assembling
> the troops -- hence plural 'vous'. Due to the Norman Conquest, it became
> habitually, circa 1590, to use the phrase to refer, in England, never in
> France,
>  to any appointed place of meeting, not necessary military."
> Cheers,
> Speranza
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