Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, June 03, 2005

Poobah Or Panjandrum?

Zippo jumped in my Comments pool to leave me a suggestion this morning. He thinks I should have used Panjandrum instead of Poobah in this post. As he noted, Grand Panjandrum is a made-up name coined by Samuel Foote (1720-1777) in a piece of nonsense writing. It was composed on the spot to challenge actor Charles Macklin's claim that he could memorize anything. Macklin is said to have refused to repeat a word of it.

Here's the phrase:
So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie; and at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. "What! No soap?" So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber: and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.
The phrase 'grand Panjandrum' entered into common usage, coming to mean an important personage or pretentious official, and it still remains in use today.
However... In spite of Zippo's plea for literary accuracy (and his not-so-subtle plug for Apple's OSX.4!), I'm gonna leave it as Poobah. Why?

Because Grand Poobah is an equally valid phrase, just one with a more ancient source! See, instead of 18th century dramatists, I was referencing -100th century cavemen! Namely, this guy:

Remember the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes? Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were always scheming to get elected Grand Poobah, or else getting in hot water with the current Grand Poobah!

So, there's the reason I used Grand Poobah! Sorry, Zip! All those cartoons as a kid have polluted my brain!