Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On the Cob


Q. I stumbled upon a web site specializing in corny jokes for kids, and I suddenly thought, “Why do they use the word corny?”

A. One explanation refers to music. Jazz musicians began to use the word in the 1920s to refer dismissively to music they considered old-fashioned. It was like saying, “that music belongs at a barn dance.” That would put it in rural areas like Iowa or Nebraska or other corn capitals.

Another explanation is that seed catalogs used to scatter unsophisticated jokes among the ads. Farmers began to refer to them as corn jokes, shortened eventually to corny.



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