Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 10:38:19 -0500 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: Re: The ephemeral Mudville At 09:38 AM 12/16/97 EST, you wrote: >I suspect we really are trying too hard. This quest has all the earmarks of >the perennial dispute on about which Springfield the writers >of "The Simpsons" are "really" situating the weekly cartoon show in; every >week or so various posters chime in with new clues based on that week's >episode. I would imagine that similarly there is no true Mudville per se--as >Alan suggests, a general rather than specific label. --Larry > Right -- but I'm not sure who the "we" would be since I don't know that anyone on this list is supporting the idea there is a "real" Mudville. I believe that several people not on this list favor certain hypotheses: Robert Smith of the Boston Globe as cited by Gerald Cohen supports Mass.; a sportswriter friend anonymously cited by Gerald Cohen supports Stockton, CA; and Martin Gardner's _Annotated Casey_ as cited by Alan Baragona supports (or at least reports) a putative Mudville in Kansas. My sense (absent really strong proof to the contrary) would be that "Mudville" is intentionally general and fictional, like "Lake Wobegon" -- or "Springfield," another deliberately generic name (wish I'd thought of that one). Such names are chosen either for how common they are (Springfield) or for how over-the-top they are (who would ever name a place "Lake Wobegon" in real life?). Mudville may in fact be in the latter category: there may have been people who referred to some town or another sarcastically as Mudville, but I don't know that it was ever a formal town-name. Somebody who was interested in that would have to check the 1895 (or some other later-19th cent.) atlas. Of course, there *were* some fairly outrageous local names before the Post Office got on people's cases in the late 19th cent. -- e.g., Hell Town, VA was supposedly renamed Temperanceville, and lots of cases like that (some probably historically accurate, and others not). Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]