(Roughly) Daily

Hey, Rube!…

Every trade has a history, a culture and secrets, all most vividly expressed in the special terms used by its workers. Here are the unique words used on the carnival lot, a language that defines a world of wonders. You can dip into this glossary to seek individual terms, but you can also read it as a whole, using it as a detailed guide to the carnival/sideshow/circus/vaudeville worlds (distilled to eliminate the average book’s cute anecdotes and to concentrate the essence). I hope it avoids being, in Studs Terkel’s words, “like a National Geographic documentary on the Zulu people, all detail and no insight.” Some contributors have supplied (but I have chosen not to include) slang terms widely used outside the field. Terms in active use vary significantly between various areas of the U.S.

– From the introduction to the mesmerizing Dictionary of Carny, Circus, Sideshow & Vaudeville Lingo

As we pack our duckeys and head for the Red Wagon, we might recall that it was on this date in 1635 (or thereabouts, scholars suggest) that theologian Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Colony for religious dissent (primarily his advocacy of separation of church and state and his objection to civil punishments for religious offenses) and for his protests at the appropriation of Native American lands.  Williams moved out to edge of the Narragansett Bay, where he founded Providence, in what was later chartered (1644) as the Colony of Rhode Island (as named for the major island in that Bay).

Roger Williams

Written by LW

October 9, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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