[Ads-l] Early "Jazz" Citation

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 17 03:25:23 EST 2022


Thanks, Ben.

MAM

On Mon, Jan 17, 2022, 2:33 AM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> It may have been a fanciful name of the writer's own creation. The body of
> the article begins, "It was a sad night at the Burglars' Rest. Gloom
> descended heavily over the usually cheerful reading room of the yeggmen's
> select social club."
>
> On Mon, Jan 17, 2022 at 1:14 AM Mark Mandel <markamandel at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Then what is Burglars' Rest? It sure looks like the name of a place, but
> is
> > there any indication of what place it was and why that name?
> >
> > Mark Mandel
> >
> > On Sun, Jan 16, 2022, 8:17 PM Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > PROTEST MEETING AT BURGLARS' REST
> > > means what it says
> > > PEEVED YEGGS SCORE LADY COPS
> > > means "upset safecrackers end up with female police officers"
> > >
> > > I think.
> > >
> > > On Sun, Jan 16, 2022, 7:53 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Talk about crash blossoms. Well, actually, is there a term for a
> > headline
> > > > that isn't liable to *mis*interpretation but  rather to no
> > interpretation
> > > > at all?  I suppose a century ago the intended readership might have
> > been
> > > > better prepared than we are today to parse a headline reading
> > > >
> > > > PROTEST MEETING AT BURGLARS'
> > > > REST PEEVED YEGGS SCORE LADY COPS
> > > >
> > > > Maybe you had to be there...
> > > >
> > > > LH
> > > >
> > > > On Sun, Jan 16, 2022 at 7:41 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Terrific find, Fred. Here's the page image:
> > > > >
> > > > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/429/mode/1up
> > > > >
> > > > > In context, "slab the old jazz" may be akin to "shoot the breeze,"
> > > "chew
> > > > > the fat," etc. Or since the preceding paragraph (written a
> comically
> > > > ornate
> > > > > style contrasting with the slang of the quoted passage) is about
> > > setting
> > > > > aside an expletive-filled argument, perhaps "slab" is like "slab
> off"
> > > > (OED
> > > > > quoting Bartlett 1859: "throw aside as useless") and it means "put
> > > aside
> > > > > the old nonsense" or something like that.
> > > > >
> > > > > As we've previously discussed, in June 1913 there were two widely
> > > > > syndicated articles that presented "the old jazz" as slang from San
> > > > > Francisco. See e.g. my ADS-L post from June 2007 or Dave Wilton's
> > > > writeup:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2007-June/071855.html
> > > > > https://www.wordorigins.org/big-list-entries/jazz
> > > > >
> > > > > While the example from The Scoop doesn't mention San Francisco, I
> > think
> > > > the
> > > > > likeliest explanation is that "the old jazz" was inspired by the
> > > > newspaper
> > > > > articles about slang that were circulating around the country at
> the
> > > > time.
> > > > > And I don't think "teach the Chinaman his music lesson" is a
> literal
> > > > > reference to music but yet another slang idiom (not sure about the
> > > > > meaning).
> > > > >
> > > > > FWIW, the item is signed "Phinney the Eel," which is also the name
> > of a
> > > > > Chicago underworld character in an Aug. 1913 syndicated piece by
> Gene
> > > > > Morgan.
> > > > >
> > > > > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/92762265/phinney-the-eel/
> > > > >
> > > > > I see there was a reporter for the Chicago Daily News named Gene
> > > Morgan,
> > > > so
> > > > > this piece may have first appeared there. And I'd guess Morgan is
> > also
> > > > the
> > > > > author of the item in The Scoop, as his byline appears elsewhere in
> > > that
> > > > > issue, e.g.:
> > > > >
> > > > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/113/mode/1up
> > > > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/163/mode/1up
> > > > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/192/mode/1up
> > > > >
> > > > > --bgz
> > > > >
> > > > > On Sun, Jan 16, 2022 at 6:50 PM Shapiro, Fred <
> fred.shapiro at yale.edu
> > >
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > Actually, I think this is the only known citation of "the old
> jazz"
> > > in
> > > > > > that time-period that is not relating to the San Francisco
> area.  I
> > > > > should
> > > > > > also note the obvious point that this citation is from Chicago,
> > which
> > > > > > appears to be the incubator of "jazz" referring to music.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Fred Shapiro
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > ________________________________
> > > > > > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on
> behalf
> > of
> > > > > > Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> > > > > > Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 6:27 PM
> > > > > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > > > > > Subject: Early "Jazz" Citation
> > > > > >
> > > > > > I often criticize other people for far-fetched etymological
> > theories
> > > > > based
> > > > > > on coincidence, and often espouse the theory that if a citation
> is
> > > "too
> > > > > > good to be true," it's doubtless not true.  But I have found an
> > > > > interesting
> > > > > > citation and seek help in interpreting it.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > 1913 The Scoop (Press Club of Chicago) 13 Sept. 429 (Internet
> > > Archive)
> > > > > > And say, Glommer, old peg, let's slab the old jazz.  Some night
> > we'll
> > > > > meet
> > > > > > at the clubhouse beaker bazaar.  And then we'll both teach the
> > > Chinaman
> > > > > his
> > > > > > music lesson -- eh, kid?
> > > > > >
> > > > > > The earliest known use of "jazz" meaning a type of music was
> > > discovered
> > > > > by
> > > > > > me in a 1915 issue of the Chicago Tribune, a full year or so
> > earlier
> > > > than
> > > > > > any other such usage.  I realize that the citation above is
> > probably
> > > a
> > > > > > usage of the slang term "the old jazz" that was current in 1913
> in
> > > San
> > > > > > Francisco and elsewhere, and probably is not referrring
> > specifically
> > > > to a
> > > > > > type of music.  But does anyone have any idea as to what a slangy
> > use
> > > > of
> > > > > > "slab" as a verb might mean?  And does anyone think this could
> be a
> > > > > > reference to music?  The context seems musical, unless "music
> > lesson"
> > > > is
> > > > > > some kind of metaphor.  The citation is an item that immediately
> > > > follows
> > > > > an
> > > > > > item about "negro" music.
> >
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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>

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