Twanglish Lesson: The Kang

Today is August 16. That may not mean much to some of you. But what if I asked you where you were on August 16, 1977? Not ringing a bell? If you’re under 40, I’m sure it isn’t. And if you’re over 40, you might be a little uncertain what I mean. So let’s rephrase the question again: where were you when you heard Elvis had died?

I bet the memory sirens are sounding in your head now. For Baby Boomers, the death of President Kennedy and the landing of Apollo 11 are the two dates that sharpen their memories to a fine point, acting as synaptic time machines taking them back to the places, sound, smells and, most importantly, feelings they had at those historic milestones. We Generation Xers can usually point to the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, or possibly the death of Princess Diana in our adult years.

The one event that unites us all is the death of Elvis Presley. I can’t think of another person whose death is commemorated more than their birth. (Heck, even Jesus’ resurrection takes second-fiddle to the celebration of his birth at Christmas.)

Today’s Twanglish Lesson is in honor of the country boy from Mississippi who grew up to be show business royalty.

The Kang -proper noun 1. Unofficial title for singer/entertainer Elvis Presley, also known as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll:

Baby, run down yonder to the Walmarts and get me some peanut butter and bananas in honor of The Kang.

You might notice we’ve gone a little Elvis crazy here on RSM over the last week. Don’t worry: it’s only going to get worse. Next week, we’ll have our first annual Elvis Week, sharing with you all the minutiae and insights we’ve gotten into the Elvis phenomenon from RSMs Wayne Franklin and Kris Wheeler working on an Elvis-themed documentary. So grow out those mutton chops and swivel those hips – Elvis is still in the building!

3 Responses to “Twanglish Lesson: The Kang”

  1. On August 16, 1977 I was 8 years old. My family was helping one of my aunts and uncles move. When I say family, I mean family. In true southern fashion, it was my parents, sister, two sets of aunts and uncles, and more cousins than you could shake a stick at. Everything was going fine until all of a sudden everything comes to a screeching halt. All the women started crying. That’s when I heard that that Elvis had died.


  1. The He-Said, She-Said of the Southern Sweets Showdown | Real Southern Men - December 21, 2011

    […] the banana with the rich, slightly sour taste of the mayo is absolutely sublime. Not to disparage The Kang, but the PB&B has nothing on this […]

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