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Ivy Jivey
March 25, 2010 2:17 PM   Subscribe

A Princetonian character in The Dud Avocado (set in Paris in the 50s) is described as saying mostly "zop zop". Was this a real thing? Part of ivy/preppy or Paris-based emigrant slang? Part of a larger lexicon of nonsense? No one in the novel (thus far) seems to think it remarkable.

Failing a zop-specific anwer, resources about sort of thing (seemingly nonsensical ivy-bound slang of the fifties) would be appreciated. I feel as if several other examples are in my head just out of my grasp…
posted by kenko to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can I just say that I am astounded that anyone other than me in the entire world has heard of, and read, that book. I feel special now.

I have seen, in books of that era, a certain... excitement... about catchphrases. I think they were a popular concept about then and very hip - so perhaps he is just embodying the prevalence of the catchphrase concept, as opposed to using any particular real catchphrase.
posted by Billegible at 2:41 PM on March 25, 2010


I've no idea, but it appears to currently(?) in use as well (don't know how to link to individual comments, but search for it on that page).
posted by juv3nal at 3:01 PM on March 25, 2010


I read Lucky Jim a few years ago. Your description is making me think of that sort of English university setting, but I'm not sure if that phenomenon specifically was in Amis's book.
posted by supercres at 3:01 PM on March 25, 2010


Your question reminded me of this old song. I guess there was just a sense of college people being non-sensical. Which in a way makes sense back in the day when you definitely didn't need a college degree to get a job and most people persuing acadamia would be considered nerds for not getting a real job.
posted by WeekendJen at 3:24 PM on March 25, 2010


There's a song called "Cuddly Toy" that apparently uses the phrase zop, zop, and it was recorded by the Monkees as well, but that would have been probably in the 70's.
posted by misha at 3:34 PM on March 25, 2010


There's an improv game called "Zip Zap Zop."

I don't know if that's at all helpful, and I'm a little embarrassed I know it, but there it is.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:39 PM on March 25, 2010


Found a couple of uses in Google Books, as a sort of dismissive response.
posted by dhartung at 5:59 PM on March 25, 2010


'Zob' is French argot for penis, which comes from the Arabic. Very rude thing to say. An American might well mishear a French 'zob' as 'zop.' My dad remembers it from his youth in France in the 60s.
posted by Kattullus at 8:20 PM on March 25, 2010


Can I just say that I am astounded that anyone other than me in the entire world has heard of, and read, that book.

I guess that makes three of us.
posted by tangerine at 12:09 AM on March 26, 2010


The League of the Dud Avocado!
posted by Billegible at 7:32 AM on March 26, 2010


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