This post explores the meanings behind the new items and words that are included in the Wild West event. This covers Act 1.
Building or Decoration Names
The Top Chop Barber Shop name (along with image) appears to reference the Native American practice of scalping. Scalping is the barbaric practice of removing the skin of the head (the scalp) from a war victim. This creates a hairy war trophy.
Top Chop seems to indicate a well done haircut. Chop is a synonym for a haircut. But taking the two words literally it can be read as chopping the top of the head, i.e. the scalp.
What I can’t figure out is why this business would name itself this. Was it named back when racism against Native Americans was in vogue? Has this item ever appeared on the show, or is it exclusive to the game? Maybe the joke is similar to “I asked for some off the top, but the barber (or is it barbarian?) took it literally and scalped me”…
The Stage Coach is a simple decoration, but I’m going to explore the words that make it up.
“Coach” is based on a placename for where the first “carriages” (or the name of carriages) started, in Kocs, Hungary. This is similar to how we got the name for hamburgers (Hamburg, Germany) — ironically though, that origin is less well attested.
The word stage on its own would bring to mind the area where plays are performed. That is understandable since that is the older meaning. The meaning for this word is actually that of the distance between destinations, or a “leg”.
Putting the words together brings us to a meaning of a coach that is meant for travel, such as moving to a distant land, such as the Wild West was to the USA at the time. Speaking of putting the words together, they are not. They’re not together like the compound word “stagecoach” that is in the dictionary. The compound word was formed by the 1600s, including a hyphenated version. EA has seemed to favor separation of compound words, at times. I’m not sure why.
Gummy Joe is so named due to having nearly no teeth, and therefore being “all gums”. But he actually has one tooth, called “Chomper”, so he’s a bit incorrectly named.
Make Wolfcastle Get To A Choppa [at the Top Chop Barber Shop].
While this can be taken literally, if we call the barber a “chopper” (see building naming above), this is apparently based on a meme from the movie Predator, where “choppa” refers to a helicopter. The meme has since mutated into the meaning “get to something important”, so the meaning here is that Wolfcastle (a parody of Schwartenegger) needs to get a haircut — badly!
Speaking of literal, helicopter becomes chopper via military slang during the Korean War. The meaning seems to have formed based on how the helicopter blades “chop” the air.
“This gold coin is an ultra-rare 1879 U.S. Triple Eagle! It’s priceless!”
This coin does not appear to exist, but that can be expected for a fictional world. The closest coin that exists is the Double Eagle circa 1850-1900s.
The $10 eagles were produced beginning in 1795 […]. Since the $20 gold piece had twice the value of the eagle, these coins were designated “double eagles”.
From that quote we can conclude that a triple eagle would be worth $30 at the time, and in the thousands nowadays (because they were made with 90% gold).
“It’s not a bar, Moe. It’s a wild west SALOON.”
It’s also not not a bar, Homer. 😉 Saloon can mean that it is just a place, but usually a place that also serves alcohol. In times of past a saloon was member’s only, whereas pubs and other bars were open to the public. It would most likely be a nicer place to be, as Moe worried. Later dialogue shows that it is essentially a bar, as Homer gets drunk.
“them thar” [and other forms of “thar“]
These are words that “mimic” the dialect of the frontiersmen (although my source places the dialect at the Appalachians, which is on the East Coast). “Thar” is simply “there”, and based on it’s etymology, “thær”, seems to be a more correct pronunciation, historically. “Them thar” together translates to “those”.
What do you think of these interpretations? Have a different reading of anything? Anything else from the Wild West Event that you wanted covered? Comment below.