going tonto

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon May 20 00:17:19 UTC 2002

In a message dated 05/19/2002 3:34:41 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM writes:

> By coincidence, when this thread started, I happened to be reading a
>  British detective story, copyright 2001, laid in Lancs, in which both Tonto
>  and the Lone Ranger are casually referred to as familiar cultural entities.
>  (The expression "going tonto" was not used.)

And the existence of the phrase "Sloane Rangers" implies that the British are
familiar with the phrase "Lone Ranger", and perhaps with "faithful Indian
companion Tonto" as well.  However, since Jay Silverheels (who played Tonto)
could have taught phlegmatics to the British, the existence of "going Tonto"
seems to imply that the British never saw the telly shows.

While the average Anglo in the United States knows six words of Spanish and
has a surprisingly good idea of Spanish pronunciation, my impression is that
the British have as much interest in learning Spanish as they do in learning
Mongol.  For example, take the name "Don Juan".  Byron turned it into "Don
Jew-an" ("funny, you don't look Jewish") and Shakespeare didn't hesitate to
name characters "Don John".

            - Jim Landau

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