[Ads-l] Variants of this *are* in Google:

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 1 11:09:36 UTC 2015

> may be symbolically associated at some level with

A useful academic cliche' meaning  "This sentence has no factual or emotive
content whatever. But it shows I'm thinking!"


On Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 4:05 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Variants of this *are* in Google:
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Mary Mack / Dressed in black / Silver and gold buttons / All down her back
> / She asked her mother / For fifteen cents / To see the elephant / Jump the
> fence / He jumped so high / That he touched the sky / And didn't come back
> / Till the Fourth of July.
> I learned this version from my mother, ca. 1938. It's the chant that
> accompanies a kind of "hand-jive" played between two girls. Naturally, as
> soon  as it was made manifest to me by other men-children that this was a
> chick thing, I stopped playing at it - I was so young that I wasn't
> co-ordinated enough to play it, which is not to say that I ever became so
> co-ordinated - and got pissed off that my mother would take advantage of my
> innocence to teach me chick stuff.
> On the very first page of GB, there's a book containing an academic
> analysis:
> "In black girls' play, 'black' may be symbolically associated at some level
> with one's ethnic identity - dressing, as it were, oneself in blackness, so
> to speak."
> Aaarrrggghhh!!!
> When I learned this chant, I was too young to have developed the least
> concept of any ethnic/racial identity. I was, however, already *heavily*
> invested in the fact that I was a boy.
> The same "authoress," as we guys used to say in the good old days, also
> claims that the etymology of the hand-jive, "hambone" - its rhythm and
> accompanying chant are the source of both of the songs, "Bo-Diddley," by
> Bo-Diddley, and "Mockingbird," by teen siblings, Inez Foxx and Charlie
> Foxx, covered, note for note, ten years later by James Taylor and Carly
> Simon - is _*hand bone*_.  The primary action of the hambone is rhythmic
> slapping of the "hambone" or thigh, wherein _hambone_ is a clear extension
> of  _ham_ = "thigh," for purposes of rhythm. The words to both of the songs
> are slight variants of the "clean" chants accompanying the hambone that I
> learned, back in the day.
> FYI; there's plenty of hamboning to be seen on YouTube. This version
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGff21Pw3FU
> is clearly very close to the source - if it's not the source - of
> "Mockingbird." It's slightly bowdlerized:
> "Hambone, Hambone, where's your wife?
> In the kitchen, cooking rice"
> I learned that second line as,
> "Around the corner, shooting dice,"
> in St. Louis.
> One of the children doing the chanting, Decla Clark, grew up to become the
> R&B great, Dee Clark. The chanters/hamboners were considered so unusual
> that they were featured by themselves on national TV as "The Hambone Kids."
> In like manner as Richard Pryor's jealous home-boys back in Peoria, I - in
> high school, at the time, 1952 - used to think, "Shucks! What're they doing
> on the television? We used do to that same thing, back at [Our Lady of the
> Visi] 'Tation, in the back of the schoolyard!"
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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