Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sailor Mouth Saturday: Gawp

In the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Surprise's bosun comes upon his men eagerly watching Dr. Maturin do surgery on Joe Place, who has a depressed skull fracture. Stephen is performing a trepanning to relieve pressure on the brain. The portion of the skull removed will be replaced by a coin. Ol' Doc Maturin does this surgery like five times in the course of the twenty Aubrey/Maturin novels so it's no wonder the scene - which in all fairness does nothing by way of moving the story along or sexing it up with all kinds of actiony goodness - made it into the movie.

But back to the bosun. He looks at the men a moment and then, in the booming voice so common to bosuns in general, says: "Get back to work! Ain't nothin' gettin' done with you standin' around here gawpin'." Everyone disperses except the bosun, who proceeds to stand around gawping.

The word gawp as it comes down to us was born in the Royal Navy and has nothing nice to say. Originally the term was "gawpus", literally a stupid and idle member of a ship's crew. A gawpus is so lubberly that he has no notion how to be helpful so he stands about, probably with his mouth open and possibly drooling. This then became the slang term "gaw gaw" meaning a moron who would be better suited for ballast than crewman. Harsh indeed but then sailors tend to be direct and to the point.

From that, of course, comes gawp. Standing around staring. Probably with your mouth open.

That's all I have for today, Brethren. I will now proceed to stand about gawping at this:

Jack could give Horatio Nelson a run for his money.


Blue Flamingo said...

I too, will 'gawp' at the photo you posted - I really enjoyed Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World!

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Blue Flamingo! I heard Rusty is in talks to do another of the Aubrey/Maturin books as a movie. This one is "Reverse of the Medal" where Jack is wrongfully convicted of jobbing the stock market and looses his place on the Post Captain's list. Lots of intrigue and scandal and Stephen spying up a storm. Cross your fingers!

Timmy! said...

Ahoy Pauline! While I was the one who alerted you to the talk of Rusty possibly starring in a new Aubrey-Maturin movie, personally, I'm doubting that it will ever happen. While the first movie was excellent (IMHO) I don't think the box office was big enough and it doesn't have enough CGI and video game cross-selling appeal to be marketable to the 14-25 year-old male audience to whom Hollywood panders so fervently, unfortunately...

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! Of course your point is well taken. As the Coehn bros said in an interview, they like to make movies with characters and a story, not movies about a guy with a hot car and a gun where the car and the gun are all it's about. Too bad Hollywood doesn't share their view... or mine, for that matter. But I can dream.