Question about a perplexing Lords and Ladies footnote

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Question about a perplexing Lords and Ladies footnote

Postby raisindot » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:43 pm

Once again re-reading (or re-listening, actually) to Lords and Ladies.

At one point Nanny Ogg and Casanunda emerge from a fireplace in a restaurant that was vandalized by elves. The narration is:

"The place looked as though it had been visited by Genghiz Cohen.*"

And the footnote reads something like:

*Hence the term 'wholesale destruction.'

I've always wondered about what he meant here (there's no explanation of it on Lspace). The only conclusion that I can come to is that PTerry is making a Jewish joke here, given that Jewish merchants are often associated with the wholesaling business.

Does this make sense or do you see another interpretation? I can't see why he would choose to be literal in this instance when most of his footnotes are supposed to be puns on in-jokes or some kind.

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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:17 pm

That's pretty much the way I'd always read it. Cohen is mentioned as early as Light Fantastic, although I'm not sure we know his first name at that stage. :)
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:27 pm

It's meant to be a Jewish joke, but not very funny.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:48 pm

Tonyblack wrote:That's pretty much the way I'd always read it. Cohen is mentioned as early as Light Fantastic, although I'm not sure we know his first name at that stage. :)
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Postby Dotsie » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:43 am

Tesco was started by T. E. Stockwell and Jack Cohen. That might be an obscure reference, but then they often are.

(Edited to show where the name comes from :wink: )
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Postby raisindot » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:19 pm

On Lspace, Pterry mentions that the name "Genghis Cohen" comes from the name of a kosher Chinese restaurant in LA.

But the footnote may also allude to the Tesco founder, although the stereotype of Jewish wholesalers is so widespread that you really don't need to associate it with a given name.

Given that authors from Marlowe to Shakespeare to Dickens have created virulent portrayals of Jews, that Pterry actually created one as a once-legendary warrior rather than a thief or usurer is a bit refreshing.

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Postby Dotsie » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:23 pm

raisindot wrote:But the footnote may also allude to the Tesco founder, although the stereotype of Jewish wholesalers is so widespread that you really don't need to associate it with a given name.


True, except that this might be lost on a British audience, or some might think it's just a Jewish joke, and not funny. If it's about one person, then it is funny. But I'm not convinced it is about one person.
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:08 pm

Dotsie wrote:... or some might think it's just a Jewish joke, and not funny.

Me!
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Postby BatrickPatrick » Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:33 pm

I thought it was just a reference to Cohen the barbarian...
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:14 am

It's the "wholesale" part we're wondering about :wink:
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