Handy Dandy Guide to Yankee Doodle
Recently, the word “macaroni” was brought to my attention. I don’t mean macaroni the pasta, I mean macaroni the insult. In eighteenth century England, it was used to describe men who care excessively about their appearance. (Synonyms: dandy and fop.)
When I heard this definition of macaroni, I immediately thought: Ah, so THAT’S what they’re talking about in Yankee Doodle.
I’ve heard Yankee Doodle countless times, sang it, played the hand game, but never really thought about the lyrics. “Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni” seems pretty nonsensical.
Pure style. (Yes this image contains American Indians fleeing in fear and I don’t know why.)
So when I knew what was meant by macaroni in the song, I was still confused. As Americans, why would we happily sing a song that makes fun of us? After all, Yankee Doodle thinks putting a feather in his hat…
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