This is a list of explanations and definitions of cultural references made in Maple and Vine. Let me know if you come across anything else you’d like help with!
Scene 3, p. 5 KATHA: “Anne of Green Gables”
Explanation: “Anne of Green Gables” written in 1908 by Lucy Maud Montgomery was a wildly popular novel about a young orphan sent to live with a middle-aged brother and sister on a farm on Prince Edward Island. Montgomery went on to write seven other novels about Anne. They were adapted into a TV miniseries in 1985, which is what Katha is referring to when she defends her watching of it on YouTube: “It’s a nostalgia thing. But I’m not sure whether it’s nostalgia for the 1880s or the 1980s. My mother and I watched it all together on TV.”
Scene 4, p. 8 DEAN: Dewey Decimals
Explanation: The Dewey Decimal System of library book classification and organization was developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876. The system assigns indexical numbers to books based on subject, enabling them to be shelved and reshelved with precision. The Dewey Decimal System is used in over 200,000 libraries around the world.
Scene 5, p. 10 KATHA: Random House
Explanation: Founded in 1925, Random House Publisher’s “mission is to connect readers worldwide to adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction authors both familiar and new. It is home to more than 50 Nobel Prize laureates, over 100 Pulitzer Prize winners, and many of the most widely read authors of our time. As the world’s largest print and digital trade book publisher with 200 editorially-independent imprints, it publishes approximately 10,000 new books annually in print, digital, and audio formats, and sells more than 400 million books a year across the globe. Random House is the book division of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, one of the world’s leading media companies. Random House, Inc.’s adult publishing groups are Crown Publishing Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Random House Digital Media, and Random House Publishing Group. Random House Children’s Books division is the world’s largest publisher of books for young readers.”
p. 10 KATHA: Labradoodle
Explanation: A Labradoodle is a mixed breed dog created from breeding a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. It is among the most popular “designer dog” breeds because it does not shed.
Scene 6, p. 12 ELLEN: Beats and Hotrodders
Explanation: The Beat Generation came of age just after WWII, and their cultural critique called into question the materialism and mores of post-war society. They sought to challenge the previous generation’s stoicism and conservatism and emphasized social equality and sexual freedom. Their voice was captured in the literary works of writers and poets including Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.
Hotrodders were (typically male) car enthusiasts who would make alterations to cars in order to improve (speed up) their performance. Hotrod cars were raced, and may even have been used in illegal activities.
Scene 7, p. 13, KATHA: falafel
Explanation: Falafel is a traditional Mediterranean food. It is a fried cake, patty, or ball made from chickpeas, herbs, and breading.
Explanation: This is a major business building in New York City. As the 200 Fifth Avenue website states, “200 Fifth Avenue offers the latest in workplace design in one of the most historic and sustainable buildings in New York.” Their motto perfectly encapsulates Dean and Katha’s meeting: At the Intersection of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”
Scene 8, p. 17 DEAN: Ultimate Frisbee
Explanation: The U.S. National Governing Body for the Sport of Ultimate defines Ultimate Frisbee as: “cs end zone. A player must stop running while in possession of the disc, but may pivot and pass to any of the other receivers on the field. Ultimate is a transition game in which players move quickly from offense to defense on turnovers that occur with a dropped pass, an interception, a pass out of bounds, or when a player is caught holding the disc for more than ten seconds. Ultimate is governed by Spirit of the Game™, a tradition of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the players rather than referees. Ultimate is played in more than 80 countries by an estimated 7 million of men and women, girls and boys. The international governing body, WFDF, represents 59 member associations in 56 countries.
‘What is Ultimate?’ as defined by the USA Ultimate Board of Directors? The USA Ultimate Board of Directors believes that one key factor that defines Ultimate is that the players need to be the ones in control. The definition of Ultimate developed by the Board at the 2001 Strategic Planning Meeting is as follows: ‘Player defined and controlled non-contact team sport played with a flying disc on a playing surface with end zones in which all actions are governed by the ‘Spirit of the Game™.'”
Scene 9, p. 18, 19, KATHA: Stepford Wives, June and Ward Cleaver
Explanation: Stepford Wives is a 1972 novel by Ira Levin about the fictional town of Stepford Connecticut, wherein all of the wives are impossibly beautiful, doting, and submissive to their husbands, who do not seem to be ideal matches for their perfect spouses. Newcomer Joanna Eberhart questions the family dynamics of her new neighbors, only to find out that the once independent and highly successful wives are now robots, created by the town’s male leaders in order to fulfill their patriarchal sexual and familial desires. It was adapted into a film in 1975, and a remake of that film was produced in 2004.
June and Ward Cleaver: The parents on the U.S. family television sitcom Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963), highlighting the adventures and hijinks of their youngest son, Beaver, in their suburban neighborhood, home, and school.
Scene 11, p. 24 DEAN: Mason-Dixon Line.
Explanation: The Mason-Dixon Line was surveyed in the 1760s by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon along the Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia state lines, and is the symbolic cultural boundary between the U.S. North and South and a distinguishing border for slavery.
p. 25 KATHA: beatnik chicks
Explanation: Beatnik was the media’s name for the underground Beat Generation movement of the 1950s, made popular by Jack Kerouac’s characterizations of such individuals in his 1957 novel On the Road. The 1952 New York Times article “This is the Beat Generation” introduced the lifestyle to the world. The beatnik female fashion Katha refers to eschewed restrictive and structuring undergarments for a more liberated silhouette. Audrey Hepburn’s costuming in Funny Face (1957) epitomizes the female beatnik aesthetic. Other examples can be seen in this slideshow.
Scene 12, p. 29 DEAN: mimeographs
Explanation: The mimeograph was a print duplication technique that used stencil to reproduce a copy of an original text. Here’s a great photo of students at a Catholic High School using a mimeograph in 1956 to produce their school newspaper:
Scene 14, p. 33 ELLEN: refers to Japanese Internment during WWII
Explanation: According to History.com, “two months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 ordering all Japanese-Americans to evacuate the West Coast. This resulted in the relocation of approximately 120,000 people, many of whom were American citizens, to one of 10 internment camps located across the country. Traditional family structure was upended within the camp, as American-born children were solely allowed to hold positions of authority. Some Japanese-American citizens of were allowed to return to the West Coast beginning in 1945, and the last camp closed in March 1946. In 1988, Congress awarded restitution payments to each survivor of the camps.” To learn more, click the link above.
Scene 15, p. 34 KATHA: Evacuation Claims Act
Explanation: According to the National Park Service, “in 1948 Congress passed the Japanese-American Evacuation Claims Act which gave persons of Japanese ancestry the right to claim from the government ‘damage to or loss of real or personal property,” not compensated by insurance, which occurred as “a reasonable and natural consequence of the evacuation or exclusion.’ The Act was amended over the years but remained the central vehicle by which the federal government attempted to compensate for the economic losses due to exclusion and evacuation. There were many kinds of injury the Evacuation Claims Act made no attempt to compensate: the stigma placed on people who fell under the evacuation and relocation orders; the deprivation of liberty suffered during detention in the assembly and relocation centers; the psychological impact of evacuation and relocation; the loss of earnings or profits; physical injury or death during detention; and losses from resettlement outside the camps. The legislative history reflects that such claims were considered too speculative.
Twenty-six thousand, five hundred sixty-eight claims totaling $148 million were filed under the Act; the total amount distributed by the government was approximately $37 million. It is difficult to estimate the extent of property losses which were not fully compensated under the Evacuation Claims Act, for the evidence is suggestive rather than comprehensive or complete.”
p. 35 RYU: ikebana
Explanation: Ikebana is the Japanese art form of floral arrangement. In this practice, the focus is on the fusion of nature and humanity through the structure, form, and content of the arrangement. More information and examples can be found here.
Explanation: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966) was a U.S. television sitcom on ABC (which began as a radio program), and could be considered an early proto-reality show. The show starred Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, a couple married off-screen, and their two sons. The show featured film footage of their real home in Los Angeles, and they filmed on a sound stage designed to look like the interior of their home. Ozzie and Harriet is the longest running live action show on American television.
Scene 1, p. 42, ROGER, mulatto
Explanation: The word mulatto refers to individuals of mixed race heritage, especially European and African ancestry.
p. 43 ROGER: kamikaze
Explanation: Kamikaze means “divine wind,” a force of nature that would blow away enemy invaders. Kamikaze refers to Japanese bomber pilots who flew suicide missions during WWII. According to PBS.org, “the concept was Vice Admiral Onishi Takijiro’s. Japanese air forces were no longer competitive, so Takijiro proposed turning planes into human missiles. The pilots needed little training — takeoffs, but no landings — and a sacrificial dive-bomber would be hard to shoot down. They were called kamikazes, or “divine wind” — typhoons that saved Japan in 1274 and 1281 by driving off Kublai Khan’s invasion fleet. Those at home would be inspired by the kamikaze sacrifice. The enemy would be terrified. . . . By war’s end, kamikazes had sunk or damaged more than 300 U.S. ships, with 15,000 casualties. Several thousand kamikaze planes had been set aside for the invasion of the Japanese mainland that never came. Ironically, the kamikaze — and the sacrificial philosophy behind them — were one of the reasons President Truman decided to drop the atomic bombs.”
Scene 2, p. 44, KATHY: pigs in a blanket
Explanation: In the U.S., pigs in a blanket recipes are traditionally miniature sausages wrapped in a biscuit dough or puff pastry and baked, then served with a red sauce. According to Epicurious.com, “Along with shrimp puffs and the ubiquitous nut-coated cheese ball, some version of these tasty bites was all the rage at 1950s cocktail parties.”
p. 45, Ellen: Dubonnet
Explanation: A Dubonnet (pronunciation) is a blend of fortified wine, herbs, spices, and quinine. It was developed in 1846 as a means to encourage French soldiers stationed in North Africa to drink quinine to help ward off malaria. Liquor.com suggests several ways to serve Dubonnet.
p. 47 ELLEN: tea cozy
Explanation: A tea cozy is a fabric, crocheted, or knitted cover made to fit over a teapot to help keep its contents warm. They can be made to look like a variety of objects or animals. Ellen’s give to Katha is “supposed to be a frog.”
p. 48, KATHY: crab puffs
Explanation:Crab puffs are made from pastry dough filled with crab meat, cream cheese and a few spices, then baked. Crab Rangoon is a fried cousin of this dish.
Explanation: Charades is a game in which the goal is to communicate a word without using any words. It takes imagination and creative gesturing. Here’s how to play.
p.50 DEAN: “From Here to Eternity”
Explanation: “From Here to Eternity” is a 1953 film based on a novel of the same name written by James Jones. It focuses on the lives and loves of three soldiers (Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, and Montgomery Clift) stationed in Hawaii before the Pearl Harbor attack. Donna Reed and Deborah Kerr play the leading female roles. The film was wildly successful, with 13 Oscar nominations and 8 wins, including Best Picture. Here is the trailer for the film, as well as the famous kiss on the beach scene.
p. 50, ELLEN: Baba au Rhum
Explanation: Baba au Rhum is French in origin and is a dense yeast cake soaked with rum. It sometimes includes fruits and can be filled with whipped cream. It can be made as large as a bundt cake, or in individual servings.
p. 51, RYU and DEAN: Grey Goose and Smirnoff vodkas
Explanation: Grey Goose vodka is a premium vodka brand developed in France in 1996 as a luxury brand for the American market. It was thus not in existence in 1955. Smirnoff is the largest vodka producing company in the world, and was founded in Moscow in 1864. When Ellen says “Smirnoff. That’s a kind of Vodka we like. They’ve been making it such a long time” she is referring to this history.
Scene 3, p. 55, KATHA: Mirepoix
Explanation: Mirepoix (pronunciation) is a combination of finely chopped carrots, onions, and celery, and make the aromatic base to many stocks, soups, and stew.
Scene 5, p. 60, ELLEN: Contraception
Explanation: According to the Public Papers of Margaret Sanger, women’s health activist, s Dickinson Research Memorial fund, medical research pointing toward a contraceptive pill or injection made tangible progress during the year. M.C. Chang, research biologist at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology under the direction of Gregory Pincus, predicted that such a pill might be available to the general public within five years. Chang, who received a 1955 Lasker award in planned parenthood for outstanding research in animal and human fertility, announced that several compounds which worked well on laboratory animals were ready to be taken over by physicians for controlled tests on men and women.” Oral contraceptives were not approved for use until 1960 and instantly becomes popular though it remains controversial. See the history of the birth control pill here.
Scene 6, p. 61, KATHY: Chicken a la King
Explanation: Chicken a la King is a sherry and cream-based dish made with diced chicken, mushrooms and vegetables, and served over bread, rice, or pasta.
p. 61, KATHY: reading Peyton Place
Explanation: Peyton Place is a 1956 novel by Grace Metalious. So, it is actually NOT authentic to 1955! But, it was a wildly popular book about a small, fictional New England town’s dark secrets. It centers on the lives of three women from different class backgrounds and their sexual lives. The book sold 60,000 copies in the first ten days of its release and went on to inspire a 1957 film and a 1964-69 television series.
Scene 16, p. 92, DEAN: Chopin “Raindrop Prelude”
Explanation: Listen to the “Raindrop Prelude.”