Things I want to know: language edition QUESTIONS


I really want to know, if you know, or even if you have a theory.

1. When did the term “drop” replace the word “release” when describing the sale date of an album? “My album will be dropping on January 2.” And why drop? My wife has a theory about this; one’s album is like one’s baby, and in birthing a child, the baby drops down the birth canal. Plausible, but is it correct?

2. When did the term swag add the definition of “promotional items, especially when given for free, considered as a group,” and by extension, free stuff? As opposed to window treatment?

3. When did kumbaya become a term of scorn? “We didn’t hold hands and sing kumbyah.” “This is the sort of mushy, ‘kumbaya’ leftist pablum that is deserving of derision.” Just this week, I saw Rosie O’Donnell on “The View” – I was flipping through channels, really! – get her colleagues to hold hands and say, sarcastically, “Let’s all sing Kumbaya!”

I’m especially interested in the latter, because, in the late 1960s, my father, sister and I used to sing it. But NOT with those banal campfire lyrics: someone’s doing this, someone’s that. As my father would introduce it: “Kumbaya is a lullabye.” And we treated it as such:
The wind is whisperin’, Lord
The trees are swayin’, Lord
The cradle’s rockin’ Lord
The baby’s sleepin’, Lord
***
I was watching JEOPARDY! last week (of a show that ran a week or two before), and Lynne (who became a one-day champion on that show) is a features editor for the Akron newpaper who said she was the one who caught this “Simpsons”/Dear Abby hoax involving Marge and a bowling instructor.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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