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Rachel-K
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The Heyday of Dag

Benji comments that "the rock" on the beach near his house serves as a racial barrier. White people won't walk much past it. What similar examples can you think of that exist today, even in your own community? How have racial barriers changed in the last 20 years? How have they stayed the same?

 

Do you remember the most outrageous language from your adolescence?

 

Can you appreciate the "poetry" of the grammatically "acrobatic" insults that Benji and his friends hurl at each other? Benji says that they are most devastating because they "detonated between you and the mirror, between you and what you thought everybody was seeing." Why is this so powerful? How does this change (or not) as we get older?

 

Which of Benji's friends is most adept at the insult, and who is most susceptible to it?

 

What role does the handshake play in Benji's crowd?

 

What determines who gets to ride in Randy's car?

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vivico1
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

The handshake is what kind of makes their group, their group. Every little clique has something, some special greeting or words that do the same. The fact that these boys struggle with even doing it, does show they know about the groups of black kids from the other side of the tracks, shall we say, or think they must master it to be cool and frankly for them its like putting most midwesteren white kids in the middle of a crump club lol. But even their clumsiness at it holds them together because they know the others are in the same boat.

 

Who determines who gets to ride in Randy's car and who gets shotgun, hasn't changed one bit. Its who owns the car. That pretty much decides it all, including your final destination and amount of time you spend there. We did the same when I was a kid, I know, I was the one who owned the car LOL!

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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KCHaughawout
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Who determines who rides in Randy's car is Randy. Shotgun was usually reserved or who was paying for the gas!
Karen


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vivico1
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

In my group, we had this little container in the car that as everyone got in, they just tossed in some money, whether a dollar or a coin, it didn't matter and it didn't matter if one paid more than another, we never checked. It was just part of the ride and it was given that that money was for gas only. If we went to a drive-in to get a soda or ice cream and you didn't have money, it was also a given that NO one took from the gas money container, you just went without if one of the others couldn't buy you something lol. After all, without the gas money, we weren't going anywhere. :smileywink:

 


KCHaughawout wrote:
Who determines who rides in Randy's car is Randy. Shotgun was usually reserved or who was paying for the gas!

 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Mytwoblessings
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

You ask a bunch of great questions.  I think social conventions have changed and not changed.  It depends on the city or  the neighborhood.

 

 


rkubie wrote:

Benji comments that "the rock" on the beach near his house serves as a racial barrier. White people won't walk much past it. What similar examples can you think of that exist today, even in your own community? How have racial barriers changed in the last 20 years? How have they stayed the same?

 

 

Can you appreciate the "poetry" of the grammatically "acrobatic" insults that Benji and his friends hurl at each other? Benji says that they are most devastating because they "detonated between you and the mirror, between you and what you thought everybody was seeing." Why is this so powerful? How does this change (or not) as we get older?

 

Which of Benji's friends is most adept at the insult, and who is most susceptible to it?

 

What role does the handshake play in Benji's crowd?

 


 

 

 

Some things never change.  In regard to social barriers and the word dag.  

 

Was Dag a real word made up in the 80's or something made up in the book.  Because I'm reminded of something my brother did back then.

 

My old high school in georgia had what was basically called 'black hall'. I'm sure it is still pretty much the same because when my brother went there, he talked about it.  All the black kids congregated in this one hall between classes and lunch time.  It became a racial barrier and most white kids wouldn't go down that hallway.   Except for my brother.   He made some friends and other kids resented his presence.   But he was a jokester and managed to make everyone love him no matter what.    It was just about this time, he started using the word "TAG" to stand for cool or stupid or whatever.  I'm wondering if "Dag" was a real slang word used during that period of time and he converted it.   He mainly did it to see if he could start a new slang word and get other people saying it.  He was pretty successful.  

 

I think he picked up a few unique handshakes as well.   Which is why I was amused at the handshaking thing in the book.   I think in the book, the handshake was an identifyer as being part of the group.  

 

Np seemed to be the most adept at the insults, but his truly seemed like insult and not a loving, friendly thing.   

 

Benji seemed like a real nerdy type of kid to me.  Did anyone else get this impression.  

 

 

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emmagrace
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

These questions really made me think. In my community, I do not notice racial barriers. I think that a lot has changed in twenty years. There is also a lot of things that have not changed. The changes are different depending on the area that a person lives. I have seen the greatest change in politics.

 

It has been my experience that when we are younger, we take all insults to heart. A person could begin to look at themselves differently. As we get older and more mature, we pay less attention to insults that people toss out. Insult can really affect the young person sees themself.

 

I think that as of right now NP is the most adept at hurling insults. It seems that poor Marcus is the most susceptible to these insults.

 

I think that Randy has the ultimate say as to who rides in his car. I think that a person's status plays a major roll in that decision. Marcus seem to be the less fortunate and he was forced to ride his bicycle.

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CathyB
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

 

 

The insults are so powerful because they prey on your self-esteem. I don't think this changes as we get older.

 

Think NP is the most adept at the insult and Marcus is the most susceptible.

 

The handshake is to make them feel a sense of belonging. Belonging where or to what is another issue. Is it the small group of kids on Sag Harbor? I can't say yes since no one knows the handshake. I can't say no since they try to change it and customize it to their particular group as evidenced at the beach. The handshake may also make them feel 'cool'.

 

Randy determines who rides in his car.

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Bonnie824
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

In NC there is a man-made rec lake called "White Lake". When I was younger and went there as a teen and young parent there were basically 2 beach areas, one black "crystal lake beach" maybe. I doubt it's still that way though. We have a lot of military base and college towns and I haven't seen these divisions in years.
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hookedonbooks09
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Sometimes, I think the boundaries are more mental, based on a "presumed" physical place, thing, or territory. This mental demarcation is what carries the boundaries on into the future and perpetuates separation.

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deaver
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Ultimately the owner of the car has the last say, but there is more that determines who gets to ride in the car, who gets shot gun and so on.  It has also to do with personality, popularity, and who happens to be coolest and so on and so forth.

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deaver
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Yes, Mytwoblessings.  The word Dag was definately used a lot in the 80s by mostly the African American population. 
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deaver
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Thinking back on my own adolescence....let me see.  We had the word 'sike' - anyone remember that one?  It meant that you were joking or weren't serious. Shoot! Dang! That aint cool!  That's cool.  Wow - we really didn't have much going on in the creativity department did we.  Either that or the 40's are really effecting my memory.  Probably a bit of both :smileyhappy:
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Mytwoblessings
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Deaver,

 

Yes, I remember saying all those words alot.  "Ha ha I psyched you out" and things like that.   I'll have to talk to my brother and find out if he did make up tag from overhearing dag.  

 

When did gnarly come about?

 

Remember 'cool beans'   

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crafty_girl
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

I also remember "psych" and gnarly.  Where I grew up, we also went through a "talk to the hand" phase.  I myself went thorugh a "really?" to everything period.

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DSaff
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

These are some very thought provoking questions! Racial barriers have changed a lot in the last twenty years, even more so in the last forty. Today there seems to be more room for everyone now. While I think we still have "rocks" to move, I think we are moving forward more often than backward. One of the things that seems to have stayed the same is music. As we read in this book, the boys own certain artists/styles as theirs and to disrespect them is a crime. I think that is the same today.

 

My teens were between the 60's and 70's, and yes, I remember some of our cool terms. <grin> "Bookin', boogie, groovy, right on!, wicked, you dig?, gnarly, and far out" come to mind. I think all teens need a language of their own.  :smileywink: It is the same with the handshake. These boys had a new one every summer and just when you thought someone knew it better than everyone else, you find that everyone is stumbling. (beach scene)

 

The insults seem to be a right of passage between the friends. If you couldn't take it, you weren't part of the group. It seems that NP was the most adept at the insult (maybe due to his nickname) while Marcus was the least adept. Kids pick on others to show how "bad" they are, and sometimes to prevent being picked on. These teens seemed to shower each other with insults to prove each other. I don't think the insults hurt less with age, rather we grow a thicker skin with which to handle them.

 

Randy determined who rode in his car, although the rest of the group jumped in to preserve their spot. Each hoped that Randy and the others would agree with his spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What determines who gets to ride in Randy's car?


 

 
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Rachel-K
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Talk about racial barriers and pop culture--as a teen I worked for a radio rep for a record label--mostly just sorting and mailing promos to stations while the rep called the stations trying to get air time. The music industry seems to me to be incredibly and deliberately segregated. I wonder how and if that has changed. Certainly the audience (American kids) mix everything up as much as possible, but there's still a lot of identification of certain stations, certain music, with race.

 

Benji's taste (which always seems to be a breech of something) is punk and rap.

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Sassy398
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

Ah Yes, the growing up years, in fact if you ever watched the t.v. show Growing Pains...

that's what the Heyday of Dag reminds me of. I liked the show very much, so I definately

can relate to this chapter, and also in a personal way.

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lg4154
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

This was the first time I have heard the word dag before. I guess i have lived a sheltered life? Psyche was always a classic as well as gnaraly!

 

In our group, we too had are little rituals on who gets shotgun & etc. You learn as you get older, this kind of thing doesn't change much at all. I always was a passenger &  always got stuck out riding in the back. In our group, it was the quickest one!

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GSB65
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

I think Randy decides who he wants riding in his car.  No matter who "got left last time", Randy made the final decision.  Marcus claimed that he got left last time, but Randy decided no it was Bobby, so Marcus had to ride his bike.

 

I think NP was the best at the insults and Marcus was the most susceptible to them.  I think the insults hurt when you are an adolescent.  You are trying to figure out who you are and you want to be accepted by everyone.  Insults make you really question how others see you and in turn make you start to question how you see yourself.  As you get older, you have a better sense of self and realize that insults are just words that make others feel better about themselves and really have nothing to do with who you are as a person.

 

The handshake was a way to make you feel like you belonged to the group.  Even though it seemed at the beginning of summer they were all doing different versions of a handshake it still made them a part of the group.

 

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CKindianCB
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Re: The Heyday of Dag

I also remember a lot of the slang terms we all used.  Cool, Sweet how about Far Out.  That one I did not use very often.  When it came to shot gun my grandchildren still call that one, but with the air bags they usually have to ride in the back seat.

I see many changes in racial barriers, I hope they continue to move forward. I have never even heard of Sag Harbor until I started reading this book.