best friends who were monkeys

Discussion in 'English Only' started by SoLaTiDoberman, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. SoLaTiDoberman Senior Member

    TIME; The Awesome Column by Joel Stein
    "Baby on Board
    Malaysia airlineirlines bans kids in first class.
    I have a better idea: the baby section"

    We have long ago progressed past the point in our history where people of all kinds interacted in the town square and hardened truckers traveled the country with best friends who were monkeys.
    We're all safely sequestered in our demographic. So either the airlines are going to have to segregate us for our six-hour trip or someone is going to start Baby Air. First class on the nonstop to Kuala Lumpur will sell out in minutes.

    The sentence in blue is very difficult for me to understand.

    << Each question should have its own thread. >>

    edit) Do "best friends who were monkeys" mean "kids"?

    So La Ti Do-berman
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Hello, So La Ti Do-berman. You are asking several questions in this thread concerning different topics, so I'll answer the question related to the thread's title.

    Joel Stein is making a joke about the inappropriateness of diversity here. He claims that people no longer interact with different groups. Instead, people socialize and travel with those who are like they are.

    Part of the joke is his claim that truckers traveled with monkeys. As far as I know, that was never a common practice. :) The idea is that in the past eccentric people would interact with beings who were different then they were - so different that these beings could even belong to different species. Nowadays, Stein tells us, people no longer do this. They travel with their own kind.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  3. SoLaTiDoberman Senior Member

    Thank you.
    Got it!

    You also solved my other questions too.

    We have progressed beyond ("past" is an adjective, not a verb here) the point in our history. At that time, people of all kinds (figuratively speaking, including monkeys, apes, humans, etc) interacted in the town square. And at that time, hardened ("hardened" is an adjective, not a verb here) human truckers traveled (simple past tense. I think "could travel" might be the alternative here.) the country with best friends who are not human, but monkeys or apes, or something else.

    In this scenario, monkeys, apes, and human refers to the different kind of people, like sudoku-lovers, iPodded teens, chatty retirees, kids' parents, etc.
  4. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    Actually, this is a direct reference to an American television show from 1979, called "B.J. and the Bear." The absurd premise of the show is described this way by Wikipedia:

    I take this to be partly what owlman explains, but also a statement that we no longer think as we did thirty years ago.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  5. SoLaTiDoberman Senior Member

    Thank you, GreenWhiteBlue, for the very interesting information.

    It makes me think the Joel Stein's column more interesting, and at the same time, I feel it difficult to read this kind of columns without the knowledge of cultural background including TV shows.

    So "long ago" or "the point in our history" of the original sentence in post #1 means about thirty years ago,
    doesn't it?
    And the character of B.J. McKay was described as "a hardened trucker", right?
  6. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Thank you, GreenWhiteBlue. I wondered where that image came from. I must have missed "B.J. and the Bear" back in the day. :)
  7. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    I thought it was a reference to a Clint Eastwood (?—or some other macho actor) movie in which he travelled with an orang-utan.

    Neither a chimpanzee nor an orang-utan is a "monkey," but primate-shmimate.
  8. SoLaTiDoberman Senior Member

    Thank you.

    I will create another thread for "primate-shmimate".

Share This Page