The “G” Shall Not Be Jellified!
Part of a series: Diamonds In The Rough
Through a grant-funded project awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the Autry sets out to process approximately 2,000 linear feet of archival material over the next two years. Every third week of the month, the Autry Libraries blog will feature collection gems brought to light by NHPRC Processing Archivist Holly Rose Larson.
It may seem strange to draw a comparison between the pioneering founder of the Southwest Museum and the founder of post-punk rock band The Pixies. Is it because they’re both named Charles and hail from the East? Is it their shared reputation as being profoundly creative with a “strong” personality? It is, in fact, a mutual concern with the pronunciation of the name Los Angeles.
Charles Lummis may be most well-known for walking across the country in 1884 (resulting in his tome A Tramp Across the Continent), but did you know he was also a budding linguist? While a regular columnist for West Coast Magazine, he wrote up this helpful little pamphlet when he could no longer stifle his indignation at the mispronunciation of City of Angels:
Almost one hundred years later, ex-Pixies front man Frank Black (originally Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV) opened his debut solo album with the track “Los Angeles,” also remarking on the discrepancies of pronunciation of this town (although, as Black repeats in the song, he’s referring not to California’s Los Angeles, but to the city by the same name in Chile). Throughout the song, Black pronounces the name exactly as Lummis prescribes, and asks, “If they think they’ve star-spangled us, how come we say Los Angeleez?”
Until the archives reveal the answer to this question:
“Our Lady Would Remind You Please!” to have more respect for the “history and romance” of our city.