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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rhondism In World History

There are several theories regarding the origin of Rhondism, all mainly philological, and, until recent archaeological progress, all were given equal consideration. They were based upon the nasal alveolar N following a fricative R. Let's consider the two most popular phonological sources.

The first, Crayonism, refers to an artistic school whose members worked exclusively in that medium. It was a controversial movement because of its age requirement, which children considered unfairly discriminatory. At the time, to the horror of those of us old enough to remember, crayons still had bones. Crayons left too long in the sun lost their cylindrical shape, leaving finger-like skeletons in melted wax. This frightened us. It was not until manufacturers found means of raising boneless crayons that children ceased having nightmares about them.

The second theory focuses on one of many prominent forces in the French Revolution, the Girondins. Although a less tightly organized political faction than the Jacobins, Montagnards and Communards, the Girondins attracted much attention worldwide. They were a loosely affiliated group of French nouns who desperately wanted to become verbs. Political commentators everywhere were sympathetic. Thomas Paine is credited with solving the problem in America. He found he could, by adding "-ing" to any person, place or thing, create a verb --thus inventing the (Anglicized) gerund.

It was not until the science of Metaphysical Anthropology reached its current stage of sophistication that a proper history was restored to Rhondism. Archaeologists combing the sand of southern California beaches found an enigmatic disk which, if spun under a stylus at 45 rpm, produced an ancient hymn to the combined forces of Egyptian folk-goddesses Sekhmet, Bes and Thoueris, but mainly addressed the deity in charge of the Nile River's yearly inundation, Hap or Hep.

Hep was usually depicted as a bearded lady attended by a retinue of goddess frogs, all of whom were named Rhonda. In addition to maintaining the river, this subpanopoly defended humans against infestation by annoying spirits and memories that behave badly --which explains the hymn's deviation from the 6/8 meter tempo of the traditional barcarole. The supplicant flatters (" look so fine..."), confesses ("...been out doin' in mah head..."), then asks a divine favor: "Hep me Rhonda, Hep Hep me Rhonda..."

The rest is history.


  1. As always, I delight in and defer to your excellent recondite knowledge of incunabulae scholarship. Additionally your spelling of "archaeological" adds considerable caché to all of that. However, I must point out that you left out--probably because it is so obvious--that the Beach Boys when the performed at the Sacramento Civic Center in 1964, subsequently released as an LP and eventually a CD as "The Beach Boys - Live In Sacramento 1964" which I attended--and I wonder if you did, in those halcyon days when I taught nearby at Elk Grove High School (and were you a high school student there yet?)--and while ""Help Me, Rhonda" didn't come out until the next year, 1965, still it's a point. Or is it pointless? I'll leave it to you and your other responders.

    ~First responder Will

  2. August 31, 1964. I was out of town that evening and missed hearing "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow", which I believe figured on that album.

  3. Geo., you've done it again! Saving the world through obscure knowledge! It's a murti job, but someone had to do it.

  4. Murti--Fun pun! Apposite to Beach Boy era musical word play. Thanks Austan!


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