Word Play: Pondering Family, Food & Freud

Word Play: Pondering Family, Food & Freud

It’s a holiday weekend. I have several posts half finished, waiting for additional historical information to arrive or, in the case of some difficult topics, for the right angle to strike me.

So I decided to tinker with my blog — specifically, with the names of my subcategories, Genealogy, Psychology & Meat.

Because I didn’t fuss over them enough the first time around.

Wordy Musings

Pink FreudWhen I created this blog, I wanted the title and the subcategories to convey the fact that it would be about a search for my mother’s family, a search inspired by the discovery that my great uncle had a butcher shop in Sigmund Freud’s building.

I put a lot of thought into the sound and emotional impact of the words I chose for that purpose.

“Freud’s Butcher” is a literal statement of the role my great uncle played vis a vis a famous man, but the words “butcher” and “Freud” are far from neutral — to put it mildly. I worried about that a bit but ultimately decided that the combination was intriguing and evocative. You can’t go wrong with a phrase that would make a good name for a punk band.

The subject categories were designed to clarify and amplify the title. I liked the off-rhymes of Genealogy and Psychology and the humorous THUNK of the monosyllabic Meat following those two polysyllabic words. I also liked the contrast between the intellectual-sounding Genealogy and Psychology (words that end with “ology”– meaning the study or science of — always seem smart) versus the sheer physicality of Meat.

I’d captured the mind-body dichotomy in three words!

Very pleased with myself, I had business cards and a badge created.

Freud’s Butcher: A Blog About Genealogy, Psychology, and Meat.

But after nearly 10 months of blogging, I’ve realized this isn’t quite accurate.

What’s Wrong With Genealogy, Psychology and Meat?

Here is a practice caption about Freud's family tree.

Here is a practice caption about Freud’s family tree.

Consider Genealogy. Although I planned to spend most of my time tracking down family members by using tried-and-true genealogical methods, and although I’ve blogged a bit about genealogy theory — see Sex and the Single Genealogist and The Mormon Church, the Holocaust and Me — I haven’t yet spent much time doing actual genealogical research. There are many reasons for that, including the fact that others have done it for me.

Then there’s Meat.

I’ve discovered that, although butchering was the trade of my mother’s grandfather and three uncles, it wasn’t the only food-related business the family was involved with. My Kornmehl kin also included a chocolatier, a cafe owner, and a candy mogul. I’ve also ventured into some fishy topics; see the Great Gefilte Fish Divide.

And a friend who is vegetarian told me that people she knew were put off by the proud endorsement of meat that my blog announces.

Perhaps most relevant: When I asked writer friends about possibly changing the name of my blog’s categories, two of them thought that this was a good idea because Meat was “too Freudian” (ironically). By which I realized they meant “sexual.”

When I thought about it, they were right. The double entendre of Meat — think phrases like “meat market,” “beat your meat,” “meat rack” — has no place here.

Barton's Almond Kisses

As for Psychology, this blog doesn’t discuss the theories of Henry James, B.F. Skinner, Noam Chomsky, or any of the other thinkers whose ideas and practices fall under the mind-exploration umbrella. I focus on the  guy who lived in my great uncle’s building and was lucky enough to have access to a good butcher shop, so he could give his beloved Chows high quality table scraps. Whereas the Meat category is not inclusive enough, Psychology is too broad a term.

Alliteration Saves the Day!

Then it came to me: Family, Freud and Food.

If I don’t currently spend a lot of time doing genealogical research, I do devote many posts to discussing my family, past and present. So the word Family accurately reflects my blogging practices, and is broad enough to include genealogy, should my focus shift.

When it comes to edibles, it’s best to go for inclusiveness, not to mention inoffensiveness. The term Food contains multitudes and is far less off-putting than Meat.

I could have lived with keeping the Psychology category — though Psychoanalysis would have been more accurate — but having come up with two words starting with “f,” Freud was inevitable. True, he is already in the blog’s title, but he is the celebrity draw. And I find myself spending a lot of time writing about him.

The Jewish Kinder, Küche, and Kirche?

Having made this decision, I realized that I had accidentally hit on a version of  another alliterative phrase, one closely associated with Nazism: Kinder (children), Küche (kitchen) and Kirche (church). Hitler believed that women should be kept pregnant and in the kitchen, listening to a higher male authority.

He had a thing about authority in general.

In contrast, this is a Jewish feminist blog — or at least a blog written by a Jewish feminist — that deals with Family, which doesn’t necessarily involve children; Food, which doesn’t have to be cooked at home; and the secular life of the mind that Freud represents.

It’s the anti-Kinder-Kuche-Kirche.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t think Freud and feminism are mutually exclusive. Misguided theories like penis-envy notwithstanding, Freud didn’t believe women were inferior. Yes, he was a Victorian man, but he had many strong female friends and patients, including the poet H.D. and Princess Marie Bonaparte. He encouraged his daughter, Anna, to follow his career path, not to marry a rich man.

And the man who invented the Oedipus Complex would never underestimate the importance of women.

So there you have it. As soon as I get with my web designer, this will be Freud’s Butcher: A Blog About Family, Freud & Food.

Or Family, Food & Freud. Or Freud, Family, & Food. Or Food, Family, & Freud.

All input welcome. I haven’t made up new business cards yet.


16 Responses to Word Play: Pondering Family, Food & Freud

  1. KL says:

    Terrific post, Edie! I can’t help noting that the only times I have experienced penis envy is when I was on a picnic or a hike and had to go….

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Thanks, KL — for your original input, too. And, yes, I feel penis envy when it comes to outdoor peeing.

  2. Clare says:

    I like Family, Food & Freud. When I tried to pronounce Family, Freud & Food, it kept coming out as “Family *Feud* & Food”. Come to think of it, maybe that says more about my family than it does about your subtitles…

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Ha! Maybe the show should be called Family Freud.

      I didn’t want to go into it in the piece, but I’ve seen Kinder, Kuche and Kirche in every order, so that didn’t help.

  3. Family. Freud and Food does it for meeee.
    Diane J. Schmidt recently posted..Our prayers are heardMy Profile

  4. Have you checked into how the Google Gods will react to changing your categories?

    And I hope this change doesn’t affect your tag line” Sometimes a sausage is just a sausage…..” because that reflects the humor you bring to even serious discussions.

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      I would never do away with my tagline. I was going to include that fact in the post, but it was getting too long.

      My site designer also mentioned the problem of appeasing the Google gods. I told her they don’t seem to be aware of my existence. Nevertheless, not incurring their wrath is a consideration.

  5. Karyn Zoldan says:

    When I first read – family, freud, and food…I thought I read family, feud, and food.

    I thought — well, that’s odd but not really because many family members have some kind of feud going on. But then I reread it again and realized it was freud not feud. Phew.

    I like the three Fs.
    Karyn Zoldan recently posted..Tucson Tails: Memorial Day Adoption SpecialsMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Clearly, I have to separate the words “Freud” and “Family” — you’re the second friend who read it as Family Feud! I think it will have to be Family, Food and Freud — that’s pretty far apart!
      Thanks, Karyn.

  6. I like the original. It cracks me up.

    Why? Because you’ve got two ologies followed by “meat.” It’s got the classic structure of a good joke.

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Another precinct heard from! I hadn’t thought of it in terms of joke structure, but you’re right. And it seems that the eye brings “family” and “freud” together, no matter what the word order, and comes up with Family Feud! Damn that TV show.

      Thanks, Lee. Nice to see you here.

  7. As one of your Freudian fans, I like it just the way it is.

    Not to start a Freud-fight, but there is much more to Freud than penis envy, the female oedipus complex or infantile sexual desires.

    Also, when I read Family, Freud and Food, that immediately took my mind back to the McDonald’s late 80’s early 90’s marketing campaign, ‘Food, Folks and Fun’. Not exactly the same but alliteration is a damnable thing.
    Tavis Ryan King recently posted..AQA “A” Unit 3; Chapter 19: Cultural Criticisms of the Psychometric Method of Defining Intelligence and Culture-Free Intelligence Tests (Part 1)My Profile

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Thanks, Tavis. Freud-fight indeed! And of course you’re right; Freud is often reduced to the lowest common denominator (but that’s always been true).

      It’s nice to hear the other side of the subtitle argument. Now that you’ve brought up “Food, Folks and Fun” and associate it with McDonald’s, I can never unhear it!

Leave a reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.