Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 23:38:45 -0400
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Abstract August, Hot Dog!,
and the Origin of Chicago--"the Windy City"
What a posting! Better strap in!
It's July, it's National Hot Dog Month, and once again, TAD Dorgan
invented the phrase "hot dog" that he never invented!
I saw it in Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago. Big story, too. We
don't know much about the hot dog, it stated, but this much we do know--TAD
DORGAN INVENTED "HOT DOG."
Prof. Gerald Cohen (U. of Missouri-Rolla) said the same story was in the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
I got a huge mailing from the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (Janet
M. Riley, public affairs director), P.O. Box 3556 Washington, DC 20007, tel.
703-841-2400, fax 703-527-0938. "Editorial cartoonist Tad Dorgan sketched
the vendors hawking their sausages and, unsure of how to spell dachsund, he
simply wrote beneath it 'Hot Dog!' And so the name was born."
I'm on their mailing list because, about eight months ago, I sent them a
huge mailing stating this wasn't true! I spent a day just copying the stuff!
There was the late Peter Tamony's essay on the hot dog. There was David
Shulman's note, tracing the term to college slang in 1896 and revising the
OED entry. There were Gerald Cohen's articles in his Comments on Etymology.
And there was my stuff, a HUGE amount, gathered from visiting Cal-Berkeley,
U. of Michigan, Princeton, Cornell, Harvard, and--our point of origin, in
1894--Yale University. I also mentioned that Leonard Zwilling, of the
Dictionary of American Regional English, had written a TAD Lexicon and had
checked out every single TAD column, proving beyond any doubt that the story
wasn't true. I probably should have sent a bill, but I gave them all of this
wonderful stuff for FREE!
But it's there again! Why is it there? Why did they send me this
stuff, to see a grown man cry?
What more could I do? Sue them? Blow the place up? Jump off a bridge?
Before I explore the first option (I'm a lawyer, you know), you might want
to write to them. Unless they send a corrected mailing to all the same
people, apologizing and telling the truth, they're in big trouble!
I also wrote to Sports Illustrated. Now, if they had written that Babe
Ruth had hit 713 home runs, that would have been corrected immediately. But
this is out of their field, so the truth here meant nothing at all.
Sports Illustrated is pretty big, and they'll team up with CNN on a new
channel. I mentioned in passing that they should have a weekly column on
the language on sports, covering sports terms, team nicknames, and player
nicknames. Also, that they should have an on-line sports dictionary and
listserve. I also mentioned that I had at last solved the "fan" (THE FAN
movie with Robert DeNiro opens in August; I lectured on this before the
Society for American Baseball Research), the origin of the nickname New York
"Yankees," the "Big Apple" (a plaque is now up at Broadway & West 54th
Street), the false etymology of the "jinx," and many other sports terms.
Sports Illustrated never wrote back.