[Ads-l] "The Big Easy"

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 6 00:31:51 UTC 2019

As for 'Frisco, Herb Caen wrote a book in 1953 entitled, "Don't Call if 'Frisco," so the "don't call it 'Frisco" movement is at least that old.

A San Fran (cisco) genealogy site has a transcript of a 1918 article about a judge admonishing a litigant to not refer to San Francisco as 'Frisco.

""What do you mean by 'Frisco'?" asked Judge Morgan.

"Why, San Francisco, of course," said Hobbs in surprise.

"No one refers to San Francisco by that title except people from Los Angeles," said the court. "I am the chairman of the County Council of Defense, and I warn you that you stand in danger of being interned as an alien enemy. Don't do it again."

Source: San Francisco Examiner, 3 April 1918, page 6.

In 1912, the Treasury Department issued an order not to use 'Frisco to designate freight shipped to or from San Francisco for practical purposes, but also as a nod to local feelings.  Their reasoning included:

"'Frisco' lacks distinctiveness and dignity, and there are upward of 10 villages named Frisco.  The term 'Frisco' as a name for San Francisco, employed by nonresidents, is objected to by a majority of the citizens of San Francisco, and is never used by them."

The San Francisco Call, August 3, 1912, page 15.

There seems to have been a swelling of "don't call it Frisco" feeling in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake and fire.  One such example appeared in the San Francisco Call in 1908.  Mr. F. J. Cooper beat Herb Caen to the punch by 45 years.

"Mr. F. J. Cooper of this city begs the people of Seattle, through the medium of the Post-Intelligencer, to believe that 'Frisco' died on April 18, 1906.  Mr. Cooper hoped never to hear that name again; but he is still tormented by its barbarous sound.  Mr. Cooper writes in patriotic vein.  'This note to you is called forth for the reason that after several days spent in your attractive and lively city I find the use of 'Frisco,' when speaking of San Francisco, is universal among your people.  If every Seattleite knew how 'Frisco' grated upon the ears of his San Francisco visitor the consideration would surely be shown his sensibilities, at least while he made Seattle his headquarters, and that courtesy extended would soon make 'Frisco' as repugnant to the Seattleite as to his southern visitor.'"

San Francisco Call, February 19, 1908, page 4.

There are at least a few other similar articles I've seen from the same period.

------ Original Message ------
From: "Geoffrey Nunberg" <nunbergg at gmail.com>
To: ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu
Sent: 3/5/2019 4:00:02 PM
Subject: Re: "The Big Easy"

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster: Geoffrey Nunberg <nunbergg at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: "The Big Easy"

Actually, genuine* San Franciscans don=E2=80=99t get into a tizzy over =
=E2=80=9CFrisco,=E2=80=9D though nobody uses it =E2=80=94 it=E2=80=99s =
old-fashioned, but hey, Jack London used it and you have to have a warm =
spot for Alan Ladd and Joanne Dru (!) in the 1955 Hell on Frisco Bay. It =
only became a Thing when Herb Caen put the kibosh on it in a 1995 SF =
Chronicle column (https://goo.gl/ANQVc4 <https://goo.gl/ANQVc4>). What =
drives people here crazy is =E2=80=9CSan Fran,=E2=80=9D which is still =
in obnoxious use. Bold Italic did a good a piece on SF nicknames at =
https://goo.gl/Dfhn4k <https://goo.gl/Dfhn4k>, calling =E2=80=9CSan =
Fran=E2=80=9D =E2=80=9Cthe uncool one."

=46rom a report of a 2018 survey of 200 Bay Area residents in Curbed =
(https://goo.gl/3eBnaq <https://goo.gl/3eBnaq>):

When asked the =E2=80=9Cterm you use most often,=E2=80=9D 41.5 percent =
said =E2=80=9CSan Francisco.=E2=80=9D 27.5 percent most often call it =
=E2=80=9CThe City,=E2=80=9D and 12 percent prefer =E2=80=9CSF.=E2=80=9D =
Inexplicably, 9 percent say =E2=80=9CSan Fran,=E2=80=9D while =
=E2=80=9CFrisco=E2=80=9D hangs around at 4.5 percent.
As it happens, though, only 15 pct of respondents actually live in SF, =
so take that for what (little) it=E2=80=99s worth. Actually, after 35 or =
so years here I just call it the City now, though I have to be careful =
when returning to Manhattan, where the City is just, you know, the City. =
(My students at Brooklyn College used to call Manhattan the City.)

*I make it about 4 left on my block.

Geoff Nunberg

Geoffrey Nunberg
Adjunct Full Professor
School of Information
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley CA 94720
ph. 510-643-3894
http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~nunberg/ =
nunberg at ischool.berkeley.edu <mailto:nunberg at ischool.berkeley.edu>

Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2019 09:47:21 -0500
From: Ben Yagoda <byagoda at UDEL.EDU <mailto:byagoda at udel.edu>>
Subject: "The Big Easy"
Forgive me if Barry or someone else has already mentioned this, but my =
impression is that current-day New Orleaneans chafe at =E2=80=9Cthe Big =
Easy,=E2=80=9D the way San Franciscans don=E2=80=99t like =E2=80=9CFrisco.=
=E2=80=9D Again, my impression is that they prefer =E2=80=9Cthe Crescent =
City=E2=80=9D as a nickname, which =E2=80=9Cproblematizes=E2=80=9D this =
finding of Barry=E2=80=99s: =E2=80=9CIn an interview with Larry McKinley =
in The Times-Picayune on January 25, 1976, talking about his days at the =
radio station WYLD:
=E2=80=9CWe were told =E2=80=98Don=E2=80=99t say Crescent City.'=E2=80=9D=


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