Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

I Find It Disturbing #1: The Hokey-Pokey

#1 in a conceivably ongoing series entitled, "I Find It Disturbing."

The song (and popular roller-rink choreography) "The Hokey Pokey" is called "The Hokey Pokey" in Australia (including New Zealand), Ireland, and America (including Canada). That should be good enough for anyone, right? Wrong. It's called "The Hokey Cokey" in the U.K.

This deplorable act of arbitrary and whimsical linguistic unilateralism makes me sick. Yet another instance of the British! Don't get me wrong, I've been willing to put up with their bedamned and bedizened Britishisms, at least in so far as the rest of the English-speaking world goes along with them. Because if America is the only one in the right, then so be it #1: that's our job, innit? And so be it #2: I magnanimously decree such barbarous usages of other countries dipping their daughter-tongues at the common font acceptable. Because what does America stand for, if not Democracy? Albeit - can somebody tally up the total populations involved? We may be due a recount. Leave that aside for now; due process will prevail. The immediate point is: generally when the Britzers go out on a limb with some wrong-looking but technically-traditionally-acceptable spelling or bizarro variant on a word or term, much of the Commonwealth does go along with them. Thus "backing them up." But where the hell do these UK-ers get off going off on their own calling it "The Hokey Cokey"?

There's no sense to it.

I was originally going to call this post "I Find It Disturbing #1: The Hokey-Cokey", because the thrust of my objection is after all all about this misnomnymic abomination of songmenclature. But as soon as I was about to, I realized A. "Hokey-Cokey? No one is going to know what the fuck that is," and B., the Hokey-Pokey is in itself disturbing enough to justify its headliner status.

More on that in a part 2, perhaps.


The Vegetable Assassin said...

True story, when I moved to the U.S. this came up and I thought someone was messing with me. I laughed and said, "Ha ha ha, he said Hokey POKEY!" as though the person in question was a half witted moron. Imagine my surprise to find the moron was me who grew up with the Hokey Cokey! To this day I can't say Hokey Pokey. It's just WRONG. Come on America! :) Put your left leg in!

PS Maybe Brits are just into hard drugs?

dogimo said...

Hm. If "Cokey" signifies drugs what then would "Pokey" signify?

If you ask me, we should just leave the Hokey out of it.

Jen said...

True story: we sang this to a roomful of Indonesian high schoolers, only to find out that in their minority language, "poki" means a certain body part. So we changed it to "toki-toki," but everybody still knew what we really meant.

dogimo said...

"Toki-Toki" sounds like a drug reference. There's no sanitizing this song!

To be honest, "pokey" to me always seemed to be a reference to a certain body part or at least, bodily act.