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31 January 2008 @ 09:25 am
macaroni without the cheese  
While listening to "Yankee Doodle" on some educational kids show this morning (because hey! puppets!), K. and I found ourselves wondering why the titular Yankee stuffs a feather in his hat and calls it macaroni. Did he intend to eat his hat perhaps?

Fortunately, Wikipedia exists to solve such problems.

Apparently, maccherone means "boorish fool" in Italian and young British men who spent time in Italy tended to come back describing anything very fashionable as being "very macaroni." It evolved to include anyone who dressed or even spoke in "an outlandishly affected and epicene manner."

So, the joke of the song (which was most likely written by the British to mock Americans) was that this American would-be fop was naive enough to think that putting a feather in his hat was all it took to qualify as fashionable. Americans, no doubt craving songs about themselves, happilly adopted the song as their own, either unconcerned or unaware that they were being made fun of for their distinct lack of style

 
 
Listening to: Tom Waits - "Jersey Girl"
 
 
 
ghibli_geek on January 31st, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
That girl on the right there needs to eat some pancakes.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: Ape vs. Jet Girlassmonkeydiary on January 31st, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Me too! Me too!
ghibli_geek on January 31st, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Hooray! Who am I kidding, me as well! Who has good pancakes in the city? I'll meet you there!

Seriously, she's got, like, an exoskeleton.
everybody hates a tourist.dynamine on January 31st, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
she's an alien!! run!

(want to have your hair dyed tomorrow? i no longer work...long story.)
ghibli_geek on January 31st, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Oh! Oh! Uh, of course! Yes? That sounds great! Er, but then I feel awkward about it, because of the not working! Your misfortune shouldn't be my good fortune! Er, but if it's okay, then heck yes! Would the evening be okay?
zantimisfit on January 31st, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Didn't that outfit used to belong to David Bowie?
walrus damnitdylanevl on January 31st, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
You'd think the 'dandy' would've tipped 'em off.
Professor Mortis: Dr.Timprofessormortis on January 31st, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Well, it seems like a pretty clear case of Brits mocking us during the French and Indian wars, Americans knowing that and turning it back at them. Pretty normal behavior. Though I guess the "Macaroni" lyrics come from the Revolution on the Brit side, but I assume we took that in stride with that peculiarly American habit of going "oh yeah, we bad, we ain't got no class, no we gonna kick your motha fuckin' ass". I.e. the whole "wholesome simpleton" attitude vs. the "corrupt but sophisticated European" we love to hate.

I agree that it's funny that 99% of Americans don't realize that our earliest patriotic song was originally sung to mock us though, or that the macaroni line comes from the old English habit of gentlemen touring Italy.
misterhumbug on February 1st, 2008 06:55 am (UTC)
I can never get enough Tom Waits. "Heartattack and Vine" is an excellent album (I assume that's the version of "Jersey Girl" you're listening to). I was just listening to the "One From The Heart" soundtrack today. Familiar with it? The one where Tom Waits sings with Crystal Gayle. All kinds of goodness.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: green tikiassmonkeydiary on February 1st, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
You know, for a long time I didn't bother with One From the Heart. I guess I didn't think it was going to be real Tom Waits. But there are some really great songs on there.

The album I just can't stop listening to lately is Closing Time. It's just about perfect.