gooberisms

Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
I'll never agree that y'all is used as a first-person pronoun by Southerners. As I've said before, it's one of those things that marks an outsider-- it's very jarring. Well in person it is-- on TV you hear gooberisms that bad all the time.
Could it mean here a very intelligent word, please?

Does it have something to do with peanuts by any chance?


Tom
 
  • GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The word gooberisms very likely has something to do with peanuts, or at least the people who plant them, many of whom are from the U.S. southern state of Georgia. A goober in this instance can be likened to a hick, rube or even "redneck." The stereotypical goober is a U.S. Southerner who was shorted out of his share of brain cells. In other words, he ain't too smart.

    It is also a possible cultural reference to a 1960s American TV Show called Mayberry RFD, in which one of the characters was a clumsy, not-too-smart Southerner named "Goober."

    As such, a gooberism, is something a goober, or someone who shares his cultural background, might say.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    The word originates in The Andy Griffith Show, a sitcom set in a small rural Southern town, Mayberry. As far as I know, gooberism was never used on the show-- rather, it was coined with reference to one of the show's characters.

    In the South, this show is regarded with much more respect than many another depiction of the region, largely because the Southern accents used were so genuine-- Griffith really is a son of Dixie, and Don Knotts (who "unlearned" his accent for career reasons) is from West Virginia.

    In the original version of the show, the dialect division between bottomlanders and hill folk was represented by Gomer Pyle, played by Jim Nabors who was from the southern tip of the Appalachians, and could speak hillbilly with the best of them-- even though he exaggerated it for comedic purposes (like Larry the Cable Guy), he sounded genuine.

    When he got so popular the nitwits in showbiz-exec land spun off Gomer Pyle, USMC, a replacement for his character was sorely needed in Mayberry. So his cousin Goober was introduced, played by George Lindsey. This actor is also from Alabama, so there was some sanity in his casting-- but he is from western Alabama, more of a standard Deep-South dialect region, and his version of hillbiliy, while better than a Yankee's (the guy who played Ernest T. Bass is a perfect example-- except that he didn't do half bad)-- was a little forced, to Southern ears.

    For the first time, a main character on this extremely popular show was sounding a little phony, and reminded us of all the New York and Hollywood bilge that is supposed to pass for a Southern accent.

    Goober was adversely compared to Gomer, and an unpleasant buzz began to arise, to the effect that the show was going downhill (so to speak). "I liked Gomer okay, but that goddang Goober just drives me up the wall." And it didn't help that peanuts are stereotypically ascribed to rednecks, largely because we enjoy em boiled (and that seems nigh outrageous up north-- ain't y'all never tried boiled peanuts?). But I digress.

    By the seventies, when some Southerners were starting to notice that ex-Confederate citizens seemed to be the only special-grievance group it was still okay to demean and ridicule, Goober Pyle became the poster child for the kind of inane accents that infest popular entertainment that 's set in the south.

    Hence, Gooberism to describe expressions outsiders seem to think are homegown in Dixie, simply because they've heard em in a sitcom taped in a TV studio in Burbank. Again, I think the reference to peanuts is the reason why. If this all puzzles you, reflect on the fact that you're not supposed to mention watermelon in reference to black people-- calling a white character Goober is the moral equivalent of allowing a TV comedy to call one of it's black characters Chitlin. (Watermelon's just not very plausible, is it?)
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    mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Wow, that's quite a thorough explanation--I never did like Goober--he just rang false, even to northern ears. And, of course, the word goober is of African descent... A lot of cultural unpacking to do with this expression.

    P.S. Boiled peanuts are definitely an acquired taste... no offense intended...
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    P.S. Boiled peanuts are definitely an acquired taste... no offense intended...
    Try shelling and steaming them instead-- and the traditional method does call for way too much salt. I was born with a craving for blackeye peas, but it took me years to learn to like chickpeas, and I never was able to pass along my enthusiasm for lentils and beans to my children-- I guess boiled legumes are an acquired taste any way you look at it.
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    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Firefox's Dixie-defensive definition of 'gooberism' doesn't really seem to fit any of the uses of the word I've seen or, specifically, the quote in the original post. No chitlin-craving ex-confederate would consider "y'all" to be a falsely-struck Yankee attempt at Southern dialectic.

    Outside a certain drawl-attuned cognoscenti, then, let's agree its usage conforms more to GenJen's definition.

    (And my requisite Mayberry note: Gomer Pyle was a sainted idiot; Goober, an idiot plain and simple.)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Firefox's Dixie-defensive definition of 'gooberism' doesn't really seem to fit any of the uses of the word I've seen or, specifically, the quote in the original post. No chitlin-craving ex-confederate would consider "y'all" to be a falsely-struck Yankee attempt at Southern dialectic.

    Outside a certain drawl-attuned cognoscenti, then, let's agree its usage conforms more to GenJen's definition.

    (And my requisite Mayberry note: Gomer Pyle was a sainted idiot; Goober, an idiot plain and simple.)
    I'm not sure I really understand much of this, except of course for the tone-- funny how "loud and clear" turgid prose can be on that level. Getting the username wrong was my first clue.

    My definition of gooberism doesn't fit all the examples you've heard, especially the one in the original post? Who do you think is being quoted in the original post?

    "Chitlin-craving ex-Confederate" makes no sense-- chiltlins is soul food.

    Whatever such a phantasm is, he would consider "y'all" spurious if it were used in the second person singular. This point has been covered ad nauseam on the EO forum-- check out some of the opinions of the many native Southerners who contribute here.

    Cognoscenti is plural, and your sentence using it just don't make sense to me. Do you mean to say "outside of?" Sorry to be so obtuse. I'm sure all that fried food has something to do with it.
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    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    My definition of gooberism doesn't fit all the examples you've heard, especially the one in the original post? Who do you think is being quoted in the original post?.
    I paid no attention to the thread discussing the plural of 'you'--- which of course is plural--- as idiotic, and so had no idea you were the author of the quote. Had I known I would have certainly ignored this thread as well.

    "Chitlin-craving ex-Confederate" makes no sense-- chiltlins is soul food. .
    I know many white Southerners who enjoy chitlins, and watermelon, whatever limitations your own diet may respect. As for your desire to capitalize the C in confederate and my desire not to do so, these are simply indicative of our divergent attitudes toward that institution.

    Cognoscenti is plural, and your sentence using it just don't make sense to me. Do you mean to say "outside of?" Sorry to be so obtuse. I'm sure all that fried food has something to do with it..
    How foolish of me to assume that anyone shared your opinion. I should have known that you were the only cognoscente. The only one you recognize at least.

    And for your information--- and I'm really only bothering in case anyone else reading this actually takes heed of your would-be correction--- the OED shows citations of the preposition 'outside' used without an 'of' dating back to the 1820s. I'm sorry if this new-fangled expression hasn't reached your ears yet. I'm sure it has something to do with the altitude or perhaps latitude at which you reside.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Thankee everso much for the enlightening post-- don't think I could improve on ary a word of it. Fact is, you paint a perfect picture I couldn't put a finer point on with a boxfulla double-ought sablehairs. They ain't as coarse as fox, you see.
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