Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wanna Live Forever? Become A Noun

This charming video from NPR features a fun song about the people whose names became nouns: sandwiches, leotards, shrapnel, and more!



ADAM COLE: (Singing) I always dreamed my name would go down in history. But that sweet path to fame still remains a mystery. Like inventors, kings and sages, I don't want to be forgot. And so I'll search these pages for people who were not.

(Singing) Well, from August down to Zeppelin, the world is full of eponyms. People die but names live on. Lamborghini made a car. Mason made a Mason jar. And Henry Shrapnel was the bomb. There's Volta, Watt and Newton, energetically disputing whose contribution most deserves top prize. For each scientific unit there's a genius attached to it. And when they get together they harmonize.

CHORUS: (Singing) When I'm six feet underground, when I up and die, I hope my name becomes a noun. I hope I'm objectified.

COLE: (Singing) Leotard has reached new heights. He has to wear his clothing tight or he'll get tangled up in his trapeze. General Burnside isn't skilled. He often gets his soldiers killed but his sideburns can't be beat. The Earl of Sandwich ups the ante with a snack that's nothing fancy; he'll never have to leave his poker game. Silhouette's a penny pincher. He won't pay for painted pictures so the cheapest kind of portraits bears his name.

CHORUS: (Singing) When I'm six feet underground, when I up and die, I hope my name becomes a noun. I hope I'm objectified.

KRULWICH: (Singing) Wait a second. Wait just a second.

CHORUS: (Singing) Robert Krulwich.

KRULWICH: (Singing) Yeah, it's me. Has it ever occurred to you that becoming a noun, it's just - it can be a little embarrassing?

COLE: (Singing) What do you mean?

KRULWICH: (Singing) Well, let's say your name is Cardigan and you're a man of many parts. But once you become a noun, then all you are is a sweater with buttons, forever.

CHORUS: (Singing) Oh.

KRULWICH: (Singing) Or you're a guy named Guillotine and your wife likes you. Your kids like you. But once you become a noun...
(SOUNDBITE OF A SCREAM AND SLASHING EFFECT)

KRULWICH: (Singing) ...nobody likes you.
(Singing) Are you familiar with a man named Dunce?

COLE: (Singing) My name is Jon Duns and I was well-respected once for my brilliant meditations on theology. But my rivals took offense and they said Dunce means someone dense, and those perverse reverse on entomology.

KRULWICH: (Singing) Now you know what I'm talking about.

CHORUS: (Singing) Now when I'm six feet underground, when I've up and died, I hope my name is not a noun and I'm never objectified. You know that, that would hurt my pride. I hope I'm never, ever objectified.

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