Northwest Independent Scholars Association

Next Meeting

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

at Margaret DeLacy's house

Call 503-774-7017 for directions

DAVID RITCHIE will speak on

"What Do You Call Your Sword?"

There are things and there are people's pet names for things.  A New York Times review of Foursome by Sarah Boxer revealed that Alfred Stieglitz called his penis, "Little Man," and Georgia O'Keefe called her organs, "Fluffy."  Among memorable pet names for weapons, "Old Betsy," "Old Tick-Licker" were two that Daniel Boone chose for flintlock rifles. 

We know that atomic bombs were called, "Fat Man," "Little Boy," "Fat Boy," but were those pet names in the style of Stieglitz and Boone or some other kind of name?  And how about the names for artillery and shells in the First World War: Big Bertha, a Coalbox, a Moaning Minnie?  In the contemporary military it's rare to name a weapon in this manner. 

Is there a change over time here, one we might think of as historic in some way?  If so, what could it mean?

David Ritchie is a professor of History at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).  He will present a version of this talk at the
International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC) conference in Poland in July.




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