Simanaitis Says

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ETYMOLOGY: JINGOISTIC, JINGOISM

THE WORD “JINGOISTIC” came to mind, even before Trump’s trumped-up photo op at the West Point commencement on June 13, 2020. It might have been my memory of him standing with tanks nearby at Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 2019.

Above, image of a Bradley fighting vehicle from nbcnews.com, July 6, 2019. Below, image from nydailynews.com, June 14, 2020.


Merriam-Webster defines “jingoism’ as “extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy.”

Its Etymology. For such an antagonistic notion, “jingoism” has origin in English music halls: Back during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, many Brits were hostile to Russia and a music hall refrain went, “We don’t want to fight,/Yet by jingo if we do,/We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men,/We’ve got the money, too!”

So then what about “by jingo”?

M-W says, “The jingo in the tune is probably a euphemism for Jesus.” Akin, perhaps, to “zounds” for “His wounds,” or “darn” for “damn.”

Etymology Gets Complex. Wikipedia offers another possibility: It says, “The full expression is ‘By the living Jingo’ ”

St. Gangulphus of Burgundy, Jingo for short, was a Christian martyr with quite a tale to tell: This 8th-century Burgundian courtier has documented existence in a deed dated 762 A.D. from the court of Pepin the Short.

Pippins Galore. By the way, this reminds me of John Steinbeck’s novel, The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication. It’s a 1950s’ satire of French, American, and human relations. And a delight.

The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication, by John Steinbeck, Viking, 1957.

I’m unsure where my copy is. More’s the pity; I see a First Edition, First Printing lists today at $954.83.

There was also Pippin, the 1972 musical about Prince Pippin and his father Charlemagne. Wikipedia notes, “As of April 2019, the original run of Pippin is the 36th longest-running Broadway show.”

Pippin, remastered original cast recording, CD, 2000.

Back to Jingo. According to Wikipedia, Jingo… er… Saint Gangulfus “was known for his great honesty, chastity, and propriety, and visited churches and read religious texts, avoiding the company of libertines…. When it came time to marry, he chose a woman who did not share his virtues.”

Isn’t it always the way?

On one of his evangelistic trips, Jingo bought a property having a fountain of fresh and good water. When he got home, poking a stick in the soil he miraculously created another fine fountain.

Saint Gangulphus aka Gangolf aka Jingo, died c. 760 A.D. Image by the Meister von Meßkirch, ca. 1535.

Alas, Mrs. Jingo had been carrying on with a local priest. She protested, so Jingo let God do the judging: When she dipped her hand in the fountain, its water scalded her. Jingo swore off relations with her and exiled the priest.

Later, the lover/priest returned and attempted to kill Jingo, and this is where the story gets interesting. According to The Ingoldsby Legends, or Mirth and Marvel,, 1840, 1842, 1847, 1879, and 1885, Jingo was martyred by being hacked into pieces, but the pieces animated and hopped up to accuse his murderer.

That’s quite a bit of mirth and marvel, I’d say.

Nothing this dramatic occurs with modern jingoism. Just some dude at the Lincoln Memorial next to tanks, and preaching to West Point grads even when his bone spurs seem to ache. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2020

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