[Ads-l] "The Big Easy"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 6 06:44:01 UTC 2019

For some San Francisco residents "Frisco" was a taboo appellation by 1888.

Date: October 14, 1888
Newspaper: The Daily Examiner (The San Francisco Examiner)
Newspaper Location: San Francisco, California
Article: Behind the Footlights
Quote Page 13, Column 7
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt - check for OCR errors]
In a recent interview Herbert Kelcey, in speaking of the Lyceum
company's Western trip, said: "Our tour was really a pleasure jaunt.
>From New York to California and back our reception was surprisingly
enthusiastic everywhere, and in places where we appeared as strangers
we departed leaving many warm friends behind. I consider San
Francisco--by the way, never call it Frisco; they don't like it out
there--to be a second New York, and I am delighted with the prospect
of playing there every summer."
[End excerpt]


On Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 1:10 AM Geoff Nunberg <nunbergg at gmail.com> wrote:
> Point taken — the stigmatization goes back a ways, though the 1918 article is suggestive—could there have been a class or political overtone here? The City Council of Defense was formed , as Judge Morgan later wrote, for the purpose of “stamping out sedition” and “treasonable utterances or acts” (https://goo.gl/y8wJf2 <https://goo.gl/y8wJf2>), and ‘frisco’, as railroad slang and popular slang, may have struck him as unseemly. Jack London (who was not Los Angeles but from Oakland—he ran twice for mayor as a socialist) had his Frisco Kid and his 1908 dystopian novel The Iron Heel featured a group of radicals known as the Frisco Reds. (The book has been enjoying a renaissance lately; see https://goo.gl/83k6oG <https://goo.gl/83k6oG>.) Alex Kershaw’s Jack London: A Life reports a ca 1910 conversation in which London lamented the disappearance of the old Frisco of the Barbary Coast and a woman said “Oh, Don’t say Frisco. Say San Francisco.” London replied, “Let Frisco alone, you. We love the Western tang of it, we oldsters who knew her by name before you were dry behind the ears.”
> https://goo.gl/2sGoJE <https://goo.gl/2sGoJE> So Judge Morgan’s claim that the term was used only by out-of-towners is factitious.
> And there are those who defend ‘frisco’ even now (though not on my block); see  https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mathonan/17-reasons-why-its-okay-to-call-it-frisco <https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mathonan/17-reasons-why-its-okay-to-call-it-frisco> which cites the use of the name by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Janis Joplin, the Hells Angels, Frank Zappa and San Francisco supervisor Scott Weiner etc.
> “San Fran,” though, is beyond redemption.
> geoff
> > Date:    Wed, 6 Mar 2019 00:31:51 +0000
> > From:    Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM <mailto:pjreitan at hotmail.com>>
> > Subject: Re: "The Big Easy"
> >
> > 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.
> > http://www.sfgenealogy.org/sf/history/hgoe82.htm <http://www.sfgenealogy.org/sf/history/hgoe82.htm>
> >
> > 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.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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