Nieman-Marcus Cookies

Bosley_J (BosleyJ@ORE.PSB.BLS.GOV)
Fri, 24 Nov 1995 14:27:00 EST

Martin wrote:

>>This story far predates the 'net. About five years ago, it was the
of a "Dear Abby" or Ann Landers column (don't remember which). It was old
then. Of course, N-M representatives said it was impossible, and that they
had no such recipe. It is truely amazing how long some bits of urban
folklore can stay in circulation! Or how old ones sometimes return to be
told by a whole new generation. No matter where you see it, it was a
friend or relative of the writer/teller and it was a recent event. This
version is unusual since it is the first time I have come across it in the
first person. Perhaps the anonymity of the net makes this possible?<<

This bit of urban lore does seem to stand out from the crowd--not only does
it crop up from time to time in newspapers e.g. the Abby/Landers phenom, but
I've seen it faxed around, heard it passed word of mouth, etc. It just seems
to have a kind of universal appeal and so there's a positive feedback loop
that keeps it alive across various media...

I wonder if there's a kind of lesson here? Look at the thematic content: A
*cookie* recipe (and not a low-calorie one!!), so there's the food angle.
Getting the "overs" on a big hoity-toity department store... and so on. I
don't mean to make a big thing about an N=1 case, but it might be
interesting for someone in the folklore line of work to do some research
(and I have no idea *how* to do it) on relative "durability" or "ubiquity"
of various urban myths vs. their thematic contents. Or geographic
distribution of myths, etc.


PS--To all of those who were at AAA and who I wanted to meet and get to
know, I want you to know that in my letter to Newt-so giving him the devil
for our furlough that week, that's a prominent "And another thing, Newt..."
bitch about missing out. (Actually our spare car malfunctioned and so I was
preoccupied with getting it running while I was being "nonessential...") I
really would have liked to meet as many as possible.