Team X

The Zippy strip of 7/27/22:

(#1) At the Pig ‘N Whistle Diner in Brighton MA, immersed in the Team X snowclonelet

Two things here: the Team X snowclonelet; and Pig ‘N Whistle as the name of an eating establishment. Let’s dive right in with Team X, and look at Pig ‘N Whistle afterwards.

Team X. From Ben Zimmer on Language Log, 1/13/10: “The “Team X” meme”, with full exposition in a Word Routes column on Visual Thesaurus, “”Team Conan”: The Latest Pop-Culture Posse”:

The general form of “Team X” dates back to the 1970s at least, often used to refer to national teams in the Olympics or other international competitions

Zimmer adds that from 2005 on, it can be found in pop-cultural usage with X referring to a celebrity or fictional character (cf. the snowclonelet X Nation), conveying fandom or support. (So we get: Team [Jennifer] Aniston vs. Team [Angelina] Jolie; Team Conan [O ‘Brien] vs. Team Jay [Leno]; and Team iPhone vs. Team Droid.)

From the New York Times Magazine of 7/24/22, in an article on the “Stop the Steal” movenent, in a report on a Helmet Grabpussy rally in May of that year, a reporter interviewing participants:

When I asked what they thought sbout the last election or the next one, most cited on or another srand of the [expletive deleted]-centric QAnon conspiracy theory. “It starts with the British royal monarchy and the Vatican that are controlling everything,” Jill Wood, a rallygoer from Ohio, told me. “There’s ony two teams: Team Jesus and Team Lucifer. And it’s very easy to pick a side.”

And in a Business Insider headline of 6/15/22:

Trump campaign chief says the Trump team was split in 2 after election night — ‘Team Normal’ and ‘Team Giuliani’

(Team Giuliani was also referred to as Team Crazy, in contrast to Team Normal.)

In this subtype of the snowclonelet, a team is named after its captain (Team Giuliani), or the person it symbolically represents (Team Jesus).

In still another subtype, the team is named after a subculture or identity: Team Nashville or Team Country for country music fans, Team Daytona or Team NASCAR for stock car racing fans, Team Gayboy or Team Faggot for gay men, as advertised on this t-shirt of mine:

(#2) 12/5/21 photo at my desk (photo by Kim Darnell)

On to rainbow clothing advertised by the Heromus clothing company (encountered in a Facebook ad) as Team Rainbow and Team Outrageous menswear, for example:

(#3) Their website pitch is heavy on the concept of expressing yourself though your clothing, but says little about the actual designs and their sources.

Much the same is true of the menswear from the molilulu menswear company (again, encountered through a Facebook ad). A display of some shirts in their Proud / Homosexual line (heavy on bears) — including a rainbow claw print and Gay Pride popsicles:

(#4) Another website pitch heavy on the concept of expressing yourself

(I then did some searching for clothing of this sort and discovered the same designs available from a number of other companies. Heromus and mololulu appear to be aggregator sites (probably located in China) that collect designs from their actual makers.)

Digression: team idioms. A different development of the association between teams and personal characteristics, interests, and identities: three metaphorical slang idioms that develop out of heteronormative assumptions, so that straight men see themselves as all belonging to the same team, the home team, and consequently see gay men as (figuratively) on the other team. From GDoS:

verb idiom play for the other team: to be homosexual: 2001 G. Pelecanos, Right As Rain: To the men at te bar, they were… maybe even faggots, the kind of friends who played for the other team.

verb idiom play for both teams: (US gay) to be bisexual: 1994 R.P. McNamara, Times Square Hustler: He claims that bisexuality, or playing for both teams, does not interest him.

verb idiom bat for the other side (also bat for the other team) [cricket / basbeball imagery]: to be homosexual. 1999 Independent: Every other man I see strikes me as potentially batting for the other side.

The Pig ‘N Whistle. In my 7/6/14 posting “Cartooning at the diner”, the diner in question:

(#5) The Pig ‘N Whistle in Brighton MA

with a earlier Zippy strip (from 6/5/01) set there; and with these notes on Pig and Whistle as a pub name:

Pub names. The name is variously rendered aa Pig and Whistle, Pig & Whistle, Pig ’n Whistle, and Pig ’n’ Whistle. All are versions of an English pub name. From the Phrase Finder site:

The ‘Pig and Whistle’ is an archetypal pub name and is as likely to crop up in Olde England costume dramas as are men in tights and buxom serving wenches. There are several authentic old ‘Pig and Whistle’ pubs in the UK, but the name was in reality never commonplace. Dunkling and Wright’s Wordsworth Dictionary of Pub Names, 1994, estimated that there were just 10 pubs of that name in the UK in the 1980s. That was before the opening of the many theme pubs and restaurants throughout the world that have appropriated the name.

Like many old pub names, for example ‘The Dog and Duck’, ‘The Goat and Compasses’, the derivation of ‘The Pig and Whistle’ is uncertain.

The site surveys a number of ingenious ideas about the derivation of the name, none of them with any real evidence in its favor.

In any case, the pub name is now widespread throughout the English-speaking world. There’s one in San Francisco, for example, at 2801 Geary Blvd. (at Wood St.). From its website (in adspeak):

The Pig and Whistle Bar and Restaurant is a quintessential English pub specializing in quality Ales from around the world. 
From the dark wood tables, long bar to the pub sponsored soccer and cricket teams, to the regulars watching soccer or 
other local sports matches on the telly – The Pig exudes the English style pub atmosphere.

The kitchen fixes up great pub grub – fish-and-chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and cornish pasties – The bartenders pour a great pint, be it a perfect Guinness, Boddington’s or Newcastle. The jukebox brims with great English acts, from the Rolling Stones to the Smiths to Tricky.

Aggressively faux-English places aren’t my style, so I haven’t been to the place on Geary.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood, a sad story from Wikipedia:

The Pig ‘n Whistle was an American restaurant and bar located in Hollywood.

(#6)The Pig ‘N Whistle restaurant at 6714 Hollywood Blvd., on April 10, 2014

The Pig ‘n Whistle was originally a chain of restaurants and candy shops, founded by John Gage in 1908. He opened his first location in Downtown Los Angeles, next to the now-demolished 1888 City Hall at 224 S. Broadway.  … The Hollywood location of the Pig ‘n Whistle was first opened in 1927 next to The Egyptian Theatre. The building housing the new restaurant cost $225,000 and featured “[c]arved oak rafters, imported tiles, artistically wrought grilles and balcony and great panelled fresco paintings from Don Quixote.” It was frequented by such celebrities as Spencer Tracy, Shirley Temple and Howard Hughes. The original Hollywood location closed down after World War II and its distinctive wooden furniture, decorated with hand-carved whistle-playing pigs, was sold to Miceli’s Italian Restaurant, located around the corner at 1646 Las Palmas Avenue, where it remains to the present day.

By the late 1990s the location housed a fast-food pizza restaurant, and all that remained of the original tenant was a bas-relief pig on the front of the building. In 1999, British restaurant operator Chris Breed remodeled the building, recovering the spectacular original ceiling ornamentation, and re-opened the restaurant.

… From mid-March 2020 to April 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the restaurant to serve customers in a take-away format. It soon closed, and in October 2021, the interior was gutted, with the exterior being crudely painted over, as a cantina would take over its space. This included the bas-relief pigs being covered by skulls to establish the new restaurant’s theme. No modification permits had been taken out by the building’s owner with the city of Los Angeles for either the exterior and interior.

One Response to “Team X”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    While the name “Pig and Whistle” itself might not be common, it does seem that English pub names often follow the pattern “Noun1 and Noun2“, where the relationship between the two nouns is obscure at best. In addition to the several you cite above, “Elephant and Castle” comes to mind, and I’m sure I could think of others if I took the time.

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