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THE NEW PALS CLUB WEB-LOG

THE NEW PALS CLUB WEB-LOG
improbable-looking limestone karsts in Guilin

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

fans is fans

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My friend Harry has been searching out the etymology of Fanboy, and this was my contribution to the effort. It's from a biography of Rube Goldberg by Peter C. Marzio and is one of Goldberg's earliest publications (can't put hand on book just now house in chaos please help). It's clear enough from context that 'fan' is short for 'fanatic.'

Goldberg 'Fan Kid' 1904

Cigarettes, as we can see, were cool then, too. They're always cool. When tastemakers succeed in associating cigarettes with toothless Skid Row derelicts, then it'll be cool to look like a wino. In 1904, it was cool for a young dude (duded up) to have a cig in at all times.

When I was in sixth grade, I bought somebody's old assignment book at a thrift shop for a nickel. Well, it was priced a nickel, but I think the guy gave it to me so I'd go away. It had been the property of a schoolgirl, and along with the writing, there was a loose sketch of a female, slightly older than a schoolgirl perhaps, holding that little white coffin nail that meant she was free and independent. (Footnote: I realized that the name in the book was the neighbor of a friend, so I took it over and gave it back to her — feeling slightly guilty at having written my name in it — and as soon as I'd left, she probably put it in the trash for the second time.)
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