Thursday, March 10, 2016

"Jody's Got Your Girl"

"Jody/Joe the Grinder has continued to slink through the backstreets of American culture, popping up in scores, possibly hundreds, of poetic 'toasts,' doo-wop rave-ups, blues plaints, and soul, R&B, and funk songs. All of these offer variations on the classic Jody narrative: A man in a situation of confinement—in the military, in prison, working all night on a graveyard-shift job—is preyed upon by Jody, the wily sexual scavenger. As scholars have noted, the Jody narratives register the wider context of black working class life, with sexual paranoia standing in for the treacheries visited on black men by Jim Crow and the American penal state. But some Jody stories have a more philosophical bent. 'Jody, Come Back and Get Your Shoes' (1972), by Chicago soul belter Bobby Newsome, is a treatise on, as it were, Jody-ness—a dark warning that all men are potential Jodys."

Jody Rosen in Slate explores the history of his first name.

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