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May 12, 2009

Muggle-smuggling confuses jailers?

Did you know that 'muggle' -- before Harry Potter -- was a slang term for marijuana? And 'Twitter' was related to chopping up whales?

I am in shock, more due to the muggle association than with the whaling one. Before the muggle though, here's the bit about the whale...

For those who don't know the Twitter-whale association, here goes the story. Website cnet.com reports, "Whenever Twitter's servers take a tumble ... the microblogging service brings up an image of a whale being lifted out of the water by a flock of birds." This image -- now reaching iconic levels -- is popularly known as the Fail Whale and was created by designer Yiying Lu.

According to cnet.com, which quotes the New Bedford Whaling Museum, 'twitter' once "referred to an obscure piece of sperm whale anatomy that was typically only encountered when whalers were chopping up one of the unfortunate creatures." Ironic that the Fail Whale reaches iconic status after being used on Twitter. Read full story

As for the Muggle bit; all of you should know that in Harry Potter books, 'Muggle' means non-wizard people, ie, you and me (alas). However, a news article on Times magazine's website shows that in 1931, Muggle meant marijuana/ganja/pot. To quote Times.com, "In New Orleans many a schoolchild is said to be an addict; prison authorities find muggle-smuggling a perplexing problem."

Wonder if JK Rowling knew that...
Disclaimer: The image of Harry Potter is from Sidecar Sally; the author of this website did not create the image.


Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...


Did your research help you unearth these two gems?

Eve* aka JB said...

@ Mamma Mia: (sheepish) Er, yes. The research was on Internet users and social media etc..and of course I started reading about Twitter -- and posted a couple and more tweets -- and started reading cnet.com and NYTimes and landed on that. There. :D