This week on Ask the Dungeon Master we talk about cheese sandwiches and Christians:
I have an off-topic question. Two actually. They came to me during a game of Pathfinder and distraced me through the whole session…
1. Why is it called a Grilled Cheese when it’s made in a frying pan?
2. Why is Sunday considered to be part of the weekend when it’s the FIRST day of the week?
I hope you can answer these so I can get back to gaming without distraction.
Before I get to these very important questions, I just wanted to remind everyone that there is no such thing as an off-topic question for the Dungeon Master. I am a completely legitimate authority on everything. So, send me all of your nagging questions about life, the universe and roleplaying and I will provide the best answer you can get from anyone, anywhere.
Let’s start with question number one…
As with every question, there’s the long answer and the short answer. The short answer is that according to Merriam-Webster, the verb grill can be used to describe both traditional grilling methods as well as cooking upon a griddle. Broiling and griddle cooking were both common methods of preparing cheese sandwiches during the early 2oth century, and though these methods have since lost their popularity, the name has stuck. So technically, unless you stick your sandwich on a grill or griddle, you’re eating a pan-fried cheese sandwich. And also, if you cook pancakes on a griddle, you’re making grilled pancakes.
But that’s the short answer, and it really doesn’t tell us much. In reality this is a question about the evolution and persistence of language. Language is little more than a coherent collection of culturally accepted audio symbols that allow us to communicate with one another, and we know language changes a lot. Otherwise we would all sound like a Shakespeare play or maybe even Grendel from that CGI version of Beowulf.
The question becomes: why do some words change and others persist? If we look at current cultural trends like the internet and texting we can see language evolving and changing right in front of our faces. It’s the common phrases and language conventions that get slowly altered over time through phenomena like slang and local dialectical changes. These phenomena are just different ways of saying “lazy”. We tend to be lazy bastards and like shortening words and phrases as much as possible so we can spend more time pouring beer and cheese down our throat.
From this observation we can conclude that the reason we still call pan-fried cheese sandwiches grilled, is that we don’t eat them nearly enough to talk about them on a daily basis. If grilled cheese sandwiches were eaten by every American, every day and sold in grilled cheese-only fast food chains, you could almost guarantee we would be calling them something different by now. So I propose an experiment for the adventurous souls among you: convince as many people you can to eat at least one grilled cheese sandwich every day for a year and see what new and interesting names you come up with for them without actually trying to. I call this new field of study Guided Linguistics. Go forth and do science.
Taken from Mr. Verb.
You’re second question about Sunday and the weekend is a significant question that can help to reveal a lot about the Christian oppressors:
The begin with, the fact that we have a seven day week is a fairly arbitrary decision based on the ancient religious significance of the number seven. We could have just as easily decided to have five day weeks, as in the Star Wars Galactic Standard Calendar. How we divide our lunar cycle is a cultural decision, so it’s not surprising that the decisions are often based around religious considerations.
Exactly how we define the beginning and end of the week is also arbitrary. Sunday was traditionally considered the beginning of the week because our current calendar is largely based on Judaic calendars, and in the Jewish tradition Saturday is the day of rest and the 7th day of the week. When Christians reared their collective head they decided they couldn’t have the same day of rest as the Jewish people because then they would just be a bunch of copy-cats, and nobody likes that. So instead, they said, “Fuck you! Sunday is the day of rest now!”, and proceeded to engage in centuries of oppression against the Jewish people just because they couldn’t agree on which day was best for napping.
Sunday was already considered the beginning of the week when Christians decided it was the best day of rest around, so there wasn’t a lot of point in telling everyone that Sunday was the end of the week now. It didn’t really matter. All that mattered was that the Jewish folk had to go to work on Saturday. Score one for the Christian turd baskets.
Thankfully, our Great and Benevolent Ford was gracious enough to give everyone in his automobile factory Saturday AND Sunday off, so we could stop working six days a week and make all the children in developing nations do it for us so we can all have hipster glasses and flip-flops.
Taken from niceshoesbitch.
Ford Be With You,
The Dungeon Master
As always, we need more questions!
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