“American Horror Story”: Welcome to the Freak Show, hon!

The Curious case of Kathy Bates’ Baltimore-ish accent

By Jordan Bartel (The Baltimore Sun, Oct. 15, 2014)

Kathy Bates channels her inner hon in "American Horror Story: Freak Show"

Kathy Bates channels her inner hon in “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Her beard may be the least interesting aspect of Kathy Bates’ character on “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”

Can we discuss Ethel Darling’s unique accent? More directly: Is that some form of Baltimorese?

The signs are there: There have been quite a few “hons,” super-rounded vowels and other word pronunciations that you can imagine coming from the mouths of lifelong Baltimoreans.

We’re not the only ones who have noticed it. Chatter about the accent has been incessant since the show premiered last week.

One fan, Natalie Sermon, @miznattie, tweeted directly to Bates: “Your bearded lady and her evident Baltimore accent is fan-freak-in-tastic!! #heavyontheO #AmericanHorrorStoryFreakShow

We’re assuming Bates is alluding to this part of the Times’ “AHS” review: “and [there's] Kathy Bates as the bearded lady, whose accent wanders around the Southern states, periodically landing on something vaguely Appalachian.”

Really, New York Times? “The Southern states”? Not quite.

Thankfully, the good folks at Flavorwire have investigated the accent. A recently published piece, titled “Where the Hell Is Kathy Bates’ ‘American Horror Story’ Accent From? A Linguist Explains,” gives an overview of writers trying to discern the accent’s origins.

Vulture’s Brian Moylan calls it a “Baltimore honk.” Time magazine’s James Poniewozik describes it as being from “somewhere in the greater Philadelphia area with a couple of detours to the south.”

Most bravely, New York magazine’s Matt Zoller Seitz dubs it “Wisconsin Mennonite, perhaps.”

But Flavorwire’s linguistic expert, Columbia University professor John McWhorter, sees nothing but Charm City.

“She’s trying to do Baltimore, especially old-time working class Baltimore,” McWhorter wrote Flavorwire over email. “It’s a little shaky — she has a way of slightly overdoing accents.”

For the record, we’ve reached out to FX to see if Bates has time to discuss the inspiration for her accent. Plus, we have beauty tip questions for the bearded lady.

Apart from that, maybe “American Horror Story: Freak Show” will eventually reveal Ethel Darling’s backstory. Did she grow up amongst the Hons of Hampden? Perhaps her father was a worker on the docks who didn’t appreciate his hirsute daughter?

We’re eagerly waiting, hon.

“American Horror Story: Freak Show” airs 10 p.m. Wednesdays on FX.

*** Excerpt from “Entertainment Weekly” Interview (Oct. 10, 2014) ***


EW: What is Ethel’s accent? Where is she from?

RYAN MURPHY(AHS writer): Kathy came up with that idea which I love. She thought that Ethel would be from Baltimore. So we’re saying in that period the two most famous things to come out of Baltimore were Kathy Bates’ character and Wallis Simpson. She worked really hard on her Baltimore-ese. Somebody watched a screening of the first episode and said, “I thought Kathy Bates was out of a John Waters movie.” And I’m like “You’re right!” Because that’s set in Baltimore and back in the day, the accents were even thicker. But I love that. I love when she says “spektakular.”

*** Related Bawmer Links, Hon ***

How to Speak with a Baltimore Accent (eHow)

Dictionary of Baltimorese

Lexicon of Bawlamerese (www.baltimorehon.com)

Baltimore accent (Wikipedia)


Hey Hon! Yew, too, can talk in Bawlmerese
(Michael Olesker, Baltimore Sun)

The Voice of Baltimore (www.voiceofbalimore.com)

Hi, I’m Mr. Ray! (CineGraphic Studios)

Polk Audio – Baltimore Speak (YouTube)

Top 5 Baltimore Accents (Baltimore Fishbowl)
 

 

Maryland Accents: (S**t Marylanders Say) (YouTube)

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Baltimorons, Entertainment, Media, Roadside Attractions, Television, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Eat the Turd Tomatoes in Baltimore!

Sewage Overflows Feed a Garden of Troubles

By Tom Pelton (WYPR, 9/30/2014)

Killer_tomatoesOn a road in Baltimore, from a gap in the pavement near a manhole cover, grows a tomato plant. Green roma tomatoes dangle like Christmas tree bulbs strangely out of place beside a steel guard rail. Nearby, just west of Falls Road near the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, several more unruly tomatoes and a squash plant rise and twist amid sewage smells beside an eroded section of the Jones Falls bike trail. David Flores, the Baltimore Harborkeeper, has a theory about the origin of this well-fertilized garden flourishing on the banks of the Jones Falls. It grows out of sewage.

“It’s not guerrilla gardening. It’s not some intrepid city dweller who is planting tomatoes and squash plants in open spaces here and there,” Flores said. “These are actually seeds that entered into sanitary sewer system. And because of these sewer overflows, just a couple of feet away, the seeds have come up out of the sewer system and deposited here in this grassy area next to river and germinated and grew tomatoes that I wouldn’t touch let alone eat.”

Read more and listen at WYPR.

 

Posted in 2010s, Baltimorons, Dining | Leave a comment

Highlandtown Pissed Off Over Mattress Saturation

Not another mattress store, say residents

(The Baltimore Guide, 9/24/2014)

“We are super tired north of Eastern.”

This was one online explanation offered for the proliferation of mattress stores in the Highlandtown and Baltimore Highlands neighborhoods.

freemattress

Message-board wisecracks aside, some residents feel that there are enough mattress vendors, and the area doesn’t need one more. Yesterday, after press time, Ronald Rinehart was scheduled to appeal to the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals to use a portion (unit 1B) of the property at 3243-49 Noble St. as a bedding and furniture store.

Rachel Timmins, president of the Baltimore Highlands Community Association, says that the majority of the officers in BHCA are opposed to the use of that property as a store that sells mattresses.

“I am personally opposed because, for one, we have a major mattress dumping issue,” Timmins said.

… Data from Americorps National Civilian Community Corps members, who surveyed alley dumping in Highlandtown and Baltimore Highlands in May and June, shows that discarded mattresses were indeed found in alleys, particularly in Baltimore Highlands in alleys near Esther Pl. and Baltimore St.

Timmins said that she recently had an “enormous pile,” including four mattresses and two sofas, picked up from behind her own residence.

Continue reading at The Baltimore Guide.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment