Re: High Yella

1

There are others.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 2:41 PM
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Original lyrics to "What did I do to be so black and blue?" made it clear that it was sung by a dark-skinned woman who was unable to attracted lighter-skinned black men. Also.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 2:43 PM
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Cool, thanks.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 2:43 PM
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"attract," not "attracted."


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 2:44 PM
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"attract," not "attracted."

Never would have guessed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 2:45 PM
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Hmm, I just linked to a Brad DeLong post discussing racial references in popular music standards. Not exactly what Ogged was talking about but not far off topic.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:01 PM
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6: I think it is the same sense of "yellow" in "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

5: WMYBSALB, Ogged? And I thought it might not be absolutely clear whether it was supposed to be active or passive.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:07 PM
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I'm trying to introduce a competing mocking voice to combat the voice of w-lfs-n in our heads (I use "w-lfs-n" not to refer to a specific human being, but to a tendency of thought). A competing little bitch, if you will.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:09 PM
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ogged, it is clear that your impulse is to post-w-lfs-nism, as it is now no longer funny to mock people for making mistakes. you must instead move on to mocking them for the self-correction that they do in fear of being mocked for making mistakes.

ah, what a grand world.


Posted by: silvana | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:14 PM
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Wasn't there a rapper named YellowMan, who was light complected? Also, was there a larger point that I'm missing, or was this just interesting to you, ogged? (I'm sick, so I don't trust my judgment on your oblique voice today.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:14 PM
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YellowMan was a Jamaican dancehall rapper--guesting with Run-DMC on "Roots, Rap, Reggae" in the early 80s (King of Rock album). And I think light-skinned, but don't know what the social significance of skin color is in Jamaica.

The DeLong thread NickS linked is fascinating. I always heard "tiger" (in Pittsburgh, early 70s).


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:17 PM
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was there a larger point that I'm missing

Nope.


DeLong thread NickS linked is fascinating. I always heard "tiger"

I've always heard "tiger" too (Illinois), but somewhere I I read that "nigger" was the original--but on original, see Jacob Levy in comments over at DeLong's.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:19 PM
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And I think light-skinned, but don't know what the social significance of skin color is in Jamaica.

Strangely enough, I do. And it's the same there as it is (AFAIK) everywhere else in the world - lighter is better.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:22 PM
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And I think light-skinned

Albino, actually.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:22 PM
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That's right. SCMT, do you know if albino is better in Jamaica?


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:23 PM
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And more background to "strangely enough I do" would be welcome.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:24 PM
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Strangely enough, I do.

Wrong thread.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:26 PM
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The big 20th C political family in Jamaica, the Manleys, were light-skinned. Don't know about albinos, though.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:30 PM
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I think I first heard "high yellow/a" from my mom, when she was talking about her time teaching english and college counselling in south central.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:31 PM
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"Strangely enough" only because it was found knowledge, not something that came out of any even slightly relevant search for information.

I'm curious, Weiner (or anyone else); do you know of a society in which darker skin is considered preferable? The only ones where I'm pretty sure there's a gradient (e.g., Japan, India, Mexico, Cuba) go the other way.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:37 PM
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Also, isn't there an older song that references the paper bag test? I think some other phrase is used, but I can't remember it, and I'm not well versed in music.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:41 PM
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I don't, SCMT, unless you count Beverly Hills at the height of the tanning era. (Hm, guess that wasn't actually funny.) But I'm no expert.


In one of the greatest novels ever written about Pittsburgh, John Wideman's Sent for You Yesterday, there's an albino character who is considered by society somewhat creepy--who gets no credit for being light-skinned. But Wideman is also concerned with the usual social factors of light skin-dark skin etc. It's been long enough since I've read the book that I'm not sure which character is the albino exactly--is it the narrator's weird friend or the weird friend's son?

(Does it need to be mentioned that all this is a tragic consequence of racial oppression? It is hereby mentioned.)


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:43 PM
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the paper bag test

??


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:43 PM
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Speaking of uses of "yellow" in a racial context I recall this generating some controversy.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:46 PM
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First you take a paper bag

Then you put it on your head

Go to bed

Wake up dead

oh-oh-oh-oh

Suffocation, takes coordination

Suffocation, a game we all can play

("paper bag" actually makes no sense,

but this is the way it appears in one of

Groening's Childhood's Greatest Hits

strips. Isn't he from Portland? I blame

John Emerson.)


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:47 PM
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I seem to recall that Zora Neale Hurston talks a bit about the privileges of light skin in Jamaica & Haiti in her book on voodoo, Tell My Horse.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:47 PM
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I think "tell my horse" should be the new "talk to the hand."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:49 PM
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??

The Paper Bag Test


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:49 PM
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Actually, Groening may have "plastic bag." Curse you, John Emerson!


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:52 PM
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I have been told that there apparently used to be some African-American clubs (back in the day) that you couldn't get into if you were darker than the color of a paper bag - hence, paper bag test. I don't know if there was actually a test, or that was just the relevant color or what. I think this came up in the context of New Orleans society, but I could be imposing that onto the memory.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:52 PM
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Why does w-lfs-n get so much credit, when it is clear that the Apostropher is the resting place of all knowledge?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:54 PM
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Huh, thanks for the info. With my current tan, I think I'm "too black."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:56 PM
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There is no resting place of knowledge but the Apostropher, and w-lfs-n is his prophet.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:56 PM
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So, apo, wanna do my homework for me? I need a precis of §§5-6 of being and time.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:58 PM
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Enjoying your assignment, Ben?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 3:59 PM
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Why does w-lfs-n get so much credit

He knows German.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:05 PM
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and w-lfs-n is his prophet

It's uncouth to declare yourself a prophet. It's like giving yourself a nickname.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:07 PM
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And we're all about the couth. We have couth out the yang.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:08 PM
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39

I googled "tell my horse" and found this:

"Of course I tell my horse every little thought...she's a great listener... my horse is my four footed therapist. A strong shoulder to lean on when I'm tired... a soft mane to cry on when I think I can't take anymore. My horse teaches me discipline, patience, compassion, and respect. When I am around my horse, all I can think about is my horse."


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:10 PM
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I dunno, Jackie Gleason was "The Great One," right? After he died, they interviewed a friend of his and asked him how that nickname came about: he gave it to himself. And Muhammed Ali just called himself The Greatest. Maybe it's ok if you work the "great" angle.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:11 PM
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People get very attached to their horses.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:12 PM
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I think the more hyperbolic the nickname, the more people will use it ironically, or mockingly; and then after a certain amount of time, the ironic references shed their ironic color. (Compare the similar tragectory of the ironic appreciation of so-bad-its-good cultural artifacts.)


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:15 PM
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Also, if you really are the shit, you are the shit.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:16 PM
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"If it weren't for my horse, I never would have spent that year in college."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:16 PM
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It's like giving yourself a nickname.

So who coined Standpipe Bridgeplate if not Standpipeself?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:30 PM
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A handle need not be a nickname.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:31 PM
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A handle need not be a nickname.

Since we're all about circumventing the usual corrections and critiquing of corrections today, I will skip telling you that the OED defines a handle as a nickname, and admit that this is a distinction that I cannot presently articulate, but can certainly feel. Wherein does it lie, I wonder?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:37 PM
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You can name yourself, but not nickname yourself. Names are tractably first-order, whereas nicknames are slippery second-order, emergent beasts.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:41 PM
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A handle is the name we choose to use in modes of communication that aren't face-to-face; a nickname is a name that sometimes picks out something distinctive about us, and is used to address or refer to our real-life selves. No?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:43 PM
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Is a handle in this sense an alias?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:44 PM
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You can gain a nickname through non-face communication. It would probably refer to something distinctive about you that expresses itself in your writing.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:44 PM
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52

Or, in the case of "b-wo", not. But stylized abbreviations might be a separate case.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:45 PM
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You can gain a nickname through non-face communication.

I deliberately didn't say you couldn't. But that still doesn't make it the same as a handle.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:46 PM
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I think nicknames are just catchy, or playful in some way. And in this sense, don't rappers give themselves nicknames all the time? Eminem came up with his own, for instance.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:46 PM
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modes of communication that aren't face-to-face

So, at The Mineshaft, you and I are calling out each other's handles. Until the one of us who drew the short straw turns around, and then they become nicknames. Got it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:46 PM
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They don't call them "handles" for nothing, apo.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:47 PM
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I deliberately didn't say it wasn't.

Sorry, ogged (or should I say, Slippery Emergent Beast). I badly misread the second half of your comment.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:48 PM
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Or, in the case of "b-wo", not. But stylized abbreviations might be a separate case.

Actually "b-wo" was given to me by people I knew face-to-face.

Enjoying your assignment, Ben?

Not really, no.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:48 PM
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Deon Sanders came up with his own nickname. I think it's fairly common among athletes, though it used to be that they were more often bestowed upon them.

I once named a friend Merkin, and it stuck. A personal triumph.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:50 PM
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Nicknames should be used more often, in my opinion.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:51 PM
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Don't athletes more commonly have epithets than nicknames?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:51 PM
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English people sometimes mock American accents by referring to "'mer'cans". This can be confusing.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:51 PM
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A merkin that didn't stick wouldn't be much of a merkin now, would it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:51 PM
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To borrow from Mel Brooks, when my team scores a touchdown, they have nicknames. When their team scores a touchdown, they have epithets.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:52 PM
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A merkin that sticks too much is equally problematic.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:54 PM
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Mobsters too. It's epithets we need more of.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:54 PM
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Nicknames should be used more often, in my opinion.

You mean in addition to marital epithets?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:55 PM
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a nickname … is used to address or refer to our real-life selves

This is the bit that confused me. I took "real-life selves" to exclude the self at the keyboard.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:55 PM
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Forget epithets. All the cool kids have sobriquets.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:56 PM
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You lag you lose; when I was trying to find the link for "And he tells the little horse the whole story," which really should go here, the thread got away from me. Anyway, to 39 and 41.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 4:59 PM
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I refuse to read all these comments, but there's a Mississippi John Hurt song with the line

Some crave high yellow; I like black and brown

I see that that's on the page Apostropher linked, but I want to mention it anyway, because I waste your time like that.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 5:03 PM
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I took "real-life selves" to exclude the self at the keyboard.

Fair enough; probably face/non-face isn't the way to slice it; maybe "interaction dependent/independent".


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 5:04 PM
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Too bad handles aren't the ones that are a posteriori.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 5:06 PM
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because I waste your time like that.

If Unf goes on honeymoon is this then FLogged?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 5:06 PM
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Maybe Flalamoggda.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 5:08 PM
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Bob gets no respect, I see.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-05 5:33 PM
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Unfogged has been Bobless recently. I didn't expect he would pick up Unf's slack, especially now that Unf's slack is promised to another.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-13-05 6:50 AM
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ben,

So, apo, wanna do my homework for me? I need a precis of 5-6 of being and time.

This is way late, I know, but I'll do it.


It'll be fun!


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-13-05 8:56 AM
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