Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fads Sweet Fads

Ah, Fads. Here in Australia (and my brief spot of research suggests ONLY in Australia), we have these silly little lollies. Or candy, as our good friends in the US of A call it.

"Fads Fun Sticks".

I've actually never tried these candies, though I'm sure they live up to their name. The "fun" part, that is...I can already see they live up to the "stick" part.

No, I've never eaten them...but I know exactly how they taste!

"What?" you cry? "Madness!" you exhort. "Are you some kind of knucklehead?" you suggest, somewhat boorishly.

No, I strongly refute at least two of those questions/statements.

Because Fads, when I was a kid, were known by a slightly different name.



Yup. Here in Australia, we used to give our kids Fags to put in our mouths. And they were tasty. Not only that, but they were just about the coolest lollies around.

"Why?" you enquire, near breathless with boredom anticipation.

Because "fag", in Australia used to be the slang term for "cigarette".

Yep.

Here in Australia, up until the early 90's I believe, we were still selling our kids candy cigarettes, with a name which even primary school kids knew had homophobic connotations.

None of this really has anything to do with writing, I realise. I'll just have to live with that...

17 comments:

  1. No, Willsin, you're good: changing "Fags" to "Fads" is a revision, right? Right! (:v>

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  2. Fag as a slang term for cigarettes was around for a very long time, probably until the homophobic version came along. Or it may have died out before that, but I kept seeing it because I loved to read old British mysteries when I was a teenager. I assumed it came from the old term for small pieces of firewood, faggots, which makes a certain amount of sense--firesticks?--but I have no idea how both those words got the current connotation.

    (All this is spur-of-the-moment speculation, of course.)

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    1. I haven't researched it, but I wonder whether the Italian word for bassoon (fagotti) has anything to do with it. It's hard wood, you put your mouth on the end of it and run your hands all over its shaft...

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    2. Here's what the research says (Partridge slang dictionary, Merriam-Webster, and Online Etymology Dictionary): "Faggot" for bundle of sticks goes way back through the centuries, and the Italian word for bassoon is indeed derived from that (because one carries the instrument disassembled, in the form of two separate "sticks"). "Faggot" for homosexual can be traced to 1916 (U.S.; origin unknown), with the shortened form "fag" only a few years newer at most. On the UK side, "fag" for cigarette can be traced to the late 19th century, while "fagged [out]" for exhausted seems to date back centuries, in one way or another, and appears to be related to the "fag" verb forms having to do with students acting as servants for other students. The "exhausted" meanings seem to have a root associated with drooping, which in turn may be related to "fag [end]," a centuries-old term for a knotted rag-end or some such thing. Surprisingly, the cigarette meaning seems to derive from the knotted-cloth thing, not the stick thing, which as far as I can gather are two separate etymological threads.

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    3. Ah, how could I forget the "fag" scenes in Tom Brown's School Days, published in 1857, set in 1830 at the renowned Rugby "public" school? I loved that book when I was a kid, with all its presumably accurate British school atmosphere. It appears to have greatly influenced the entire genre of British school novels, up to and including Harry Potter. I do admit that the quite rough "fag" part shocked my pre-adolescent self. There may well have been sexual nuances to that, but at the time they escaped me.

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  3. I remember candy cigarettes when I was growing up. They were peppermint flavored sugar sticks, white with red tips.

    My mom and dad both smoked. Seems like ancient history.

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    Replies
    1. I remember the candy cigarettes, too. At least they tasted better than the wax
      "lips".

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  4. I have to wonder if the fasces was a possible origin of the word as a bundle of sticks. A fasces was on the reverse of the U.S. "mercury" dime (actually Winged Liberty dime) which was changed in 1946 to the Roosevelt type (with a torch reverse) since fascism had caused such shit in the early 20th century.

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  5. Whether or not the "faggot" bundle of sticks and the "fasces" bundle of sticks are related does not seem clear. Merriam-Webster Unabridged makes no explicit connection, and presents divergent etymologies (see below); and yet it doesn't seem to rule out the possibility that the trails converge in Ancient Greece.

    M-W on fag(g)ot:
    Middle English fagot, from Middle French fagot, probably from Old Proven├žal, perhaps from (assumed) Vulgar Latin facus, modification of Greek phakelos

    And on fasces:
    Latin, from plural of fascis bundle; akin to Latin fascia band

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  6. Me late faither used to call his cigarettes "fags." He claimed to have picked it up as slang while in the British army, doing his compulsory 2 years, from age 18-20...after which he hopped the nearest ocean liner to cross the pond and come to Chicago.

    As in, "Gi' us a fag, will ye?"

    His term for homosexual men was not "gay." He was righteous about how that was a perfectly good word being ruined by association. His term was "shite-stabber." Ahem. Rude and totally politically incorrect. But that was what he was like.

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    1. Hahaha -- as a gay man, I think I'm going to start using "shite-stabbing" as euphemism for sex. ;)

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    2. Oh! I'm so relieved! After I published this, I worried that you might take offense, where none was meant. One of my cousins is gay, and he used to spend time at my parents' house, since his mom was my mom's closest sister. No one ever treated him like he was weird or anything. But Dad was from a different era, born in 1927 and all, and he had some ancient ideas.

      I grew up in a house where if it wasn't my mom swearing (she'd grown up in a family of 10, all 5 brothers were in WW11, and what swear words they hadn't mastered before they joined the war, they perfected into an art form once they got home), it was my dad, who polished off his swearing repertoire in the British army. I thought everyone said, "No shit, Sherlock," for "no kidding." As a kid it didn't occur to me that everyone's parents didn't talk like that. Took me quite a while to learn how to tone it down.

      I finally started watching my language (at least when I had young kids) when I was pregnant with the 2nd kid, and too big to drive anymore, so husband drove me and our 2-year old to the OB office. Some bitch cut him off in traffic and I yelled out the window, "You cunt!" He had to sit in the waiting room with other pregnant women while I was being seen, while our 2-year-old repeated over and over again, his favorite new word. My husband shrugged a few times, trying to explain that "Just because mommy uses those words, doesn't mean you should." He was mad at me, because he didn't figure any of those women believed him that it was me with the potty mouth, not him.

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    3. We were also a swearing household when I was a kid. (My dad was a professor who was as fluent in four-letter words as he was in intellectual vocabulary.) I took my own fluency to the next level when I was away at summer camp. You should see the letters I wrote home!

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  7. I'll gladly put a fag in my mouth. (And I don't mean a cigarette.)

    ;)

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  8. Sorry for a million comments here -- but up here in Canada, I've only seen these candy cigarettes as branded under the cartoon character Popeye. I think they used to be called candy cigarettes and had a red tip -- but now they're "candy sticks" and are just all white.

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    1. When I was a kid, the packaging of candy cigarettes was so over-the-top creepy as to actually mimic cigarette brand names and graphic design—so, for instance, one line would be packaged to look like Marlboro and have a fake name almost like Marlboro. So kids could practice "smoking" their parents' favorite brands. As a matter of fact, I think it may have been in Canada (where I lived for a few years as a kid in the late 1960s) that I was first exposed to these.

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