Monkey THIS Up

Wayne Shorter by Robert Ashcroft Courtesy of the Artist

Wayne Shorter by Robert Ashcroft / Courtesy of the Artist

A Florida white man running for office against a black man has said voters shouldn’t “monkey this up.”

I’ve been listening nonstop to Wayne Shorter for three days. Mr. Shorter doesn’t monkey up the music scene. He towers among his many towering peers in the pantheon of jazz greats.

Not that the candidate against a black man intended to offend, one is sure — he could just as well have said “don’t lynch this up” or “don’t trump this up.” Simian slang that could ricochet negatively in a racially inflamed moment is as guileless as apple pie, perhaps.

I surmise, though, that the man who doesn’t want the election monkeyed up isn’t a jazz fan. I extend to him this bit of good-natured ribbing based on an old joke of Bob Newhart’s:

I love jazz, but I don’t denigrate people who don’t. And for those who don’t, “denigrate” means “put down.”

[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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3 Responses to Monkey THIS Up

  1. GP Cox says:

    I’m beginning to think that people these days wake up in the morning looking for something to be offended about. “Monkey” has been used as a slang term for as long as I can remember. “Monkey business” – to fool around; “Don’t monkey around.” British “You owe me a monkey” is 500 pounds sterling. My father used to call me a little monkey when I was a kid. This PC business of censoring speech has got to stop.

    • JMN says:

      Very true. “Monkey” has been around in many old expressions. I’m glad to learn about the 500-pound-sterling one — that’s new to me. I’m a great fan of observing slang expressions in several languages. Besides the ones you mention, I can think of “more fun than a barrel of monkeys” and “monkey-shines” meaning mischievous cavorting. My parents gave my younger sister several affectionate nicknames when she was little, and one was “monkey-britches.” Don’t know where that came from, but I still tease her with it sometimes. I have mixed feelings about what standards public speech should be held to, but I’m not comfortable with having no standards at all. It may be a quaint holdover from my upbringing, just as I’m not comfortable cursing in front of women. Some women might condemn me as being “politically correct” in that regard and take offense at being treated differently than men. I’ve lost my bearings about what “PC” means. You’ve inspired me to dig deeper, which I enjoy doing with language. By the way, I should have thanked you by now for following my blog. I think doing so explicitly for one’s followers may be a protocol of blogging of which I’m in breach currently. If so, I hope to make up for it. I follow the military history on your site with great interest. The last installment was Halsey’s getting walloped by the typhoon. He was nicknamed “Bull,” wasn’t he? Admired by those in his command. As you know, with my son in the Navy, maritime history is especially compelling. Thanks for your blog, and for reading and commenting on mine.

      • GP Cox says:

        Halsey was nicknamed ‘Bull’ and I’m glad you find Pacific Paratrooper interesting.
        Let me know what you learn by digging into PC.

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