Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Handy Dandy Guide to Yankee Doodle

historiantics

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.

Image

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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