Throwing Shade or Sending Sour? How Students Threw Verbal Fisticuffs in the 1940s.

The cliche of high school gossip is nothing new. A rumor spreads around the school, or people will share the latest “news,” but all of this bears no weight in comparison to the SOUR section of the old 1940s Central High School newspaper, or The Centralite.

The SOUR section seems to be a column of gossip. Although very cryptic in nature, this column generally appears to make thinly veiled insults, usually of a romantic nature. To 21st century eyes, some of these jabs are surprising and even crude considering they were printed and circulated around the school.

It is unclear whether everything published is coming from the student journalist, or sent in by readers. Either way, the SOUR section is ruthless.The first entry in the May issue of 1940 is “Who would have thought that Lucy Satriet was the romantic type? Ask Henry C. Lassing III.”. This bitter banter gives both insight into the time period, and also what the intentions of the author are.

The whole point may well be to expose and embarrass fellow classmates. Another good example is “‘Birds of an odor flock together’-Jack Norris and Mary Bowditch.” Maybe we’re missing some historical context, but calling someone smelly just seems plain mean. Other examples simply reveal events that have happened in the romantic world: “Anice Kirby and Bill Hogdes make an ideal couple. The same goes for Russel Dynes and Reba Inklebarger.” There is quite a big difference between the separate portions, and how critical they are.

My personal favorite line reads as follows:. “Dick Foster doesn’t go as far as 18th or 19th. He stops at 4th at Mickey Haliburnt’s house.” This one stands out more than others because it is so explicit. The author believes that they are being slick, and just stating something most people will not think about, but everyone that reads this thinks the same thing.

The SOUR section from the Centralite highlights the humor people had back in the 1940s. One gets the impression that people would see these, and then they would simply laugh, and brush it off. This seems like something everyone should consider, and more importantly, the SOUR section definitely needs to come back to the Central High School newspaper.


Read more from the Bobcat Times:

Senior Superlatives Then vs. Now

A look inside Central High School

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