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Real Question: Are Sports Illustrated and Other Major Publications Reading Us?

None of this can be accidental.

We all know you come to Anchor of Gold for three reasons: 1) We are the nation’s most trusted source in Nadia Harvin coverage, 2) Jeff Green travelled, and 3) Perfectly cromulent discussions of Vanderbilt University athletics.

In case you haven’t noticed, we use the word “cromulent” more often than even writers of The Simpsons. The word comes from the 1996 episode “Lisa the Iconoclast,” in which Lisa discovers the town’s founder, Jebediah Springfield, was not the hero he was purported to be in local lore.

In this episode, we are introduced to two words of a closed regional dialect unique to Springfield: Embiggen and Cromulent.

Jebediah Springfield (nee Hans Sprungfeld), in his town pride propaganda films, notably says the following:

Following the film, Edna Krabappel (Bart’s teacher) and Eizabeth Hoover (Lisa’s teacher), have the following conversation:

From the context clues, “cromulent,” and more specifically, the phrase “perfectly cromulent,” can be loosely translated as “acceptable,” “mediocre,” or “normal.”

However, over the past few years, first me, then CDA, and then Tom and the greater AoG Contributariat and Commentariat, have used it to describe pretty much all things Vanderbilt athletics. In fact, a quick Google search of “Cromulent Anchor of Gold” yields 20 distinct page results, including one which has been translated into Chinese for some reason.

Though it is clearly The Simpsons’ word, it is also very much our word, and we say it more than any other publication (including Simpsons based publications).

...and yet, the word has been popping up all over the damn place in actual, big money, big status publications who have Ombudsmen and shit.

*Note: Do we have Ombudsmen? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet....

In Tom Verducci’s December 13th Hot Stove Rumor Mill story “Winter Meetings Recap: Bryce Harper Lays Low, MLB Can’t Promote and the Rays Make a Splash,” Verducci described Lance Lynn as such:

Lance Lynn is a mystery pitcher.

Coming off a 3.43 ERA in 2017, Lynn couldn’t find a job until late in the off-season, and when he did he settled on a one-year deal. He then threw fewer innings with a much worse ERA (4.77) - and got rewarded with a three-year contract with Texas early in the offseason. It’s the early clubhouse leader for most puzzling contract of the winter. Give him this: he provides cromulent innings, averaging 183 of them over six seasons when he’s been healthy. Lynn, Roark, Ivan Nova … I’m not sure why teams not ready to win are paying $10 million for mediocrity when they should have a combination of young pitchers who can cover 30 starts.

Further, in today’s Sports Illustrated article, “DJ LeMahieu Is the Clearest Sign Yet That the Yankees Won’t Pay for Manny Machado,” Jon Tayler writes:

The case for LeMahieu is pretty straightforward. He’s a good defender at an important position. He won a batting title two years ago and has a career .298/.350/.406 line—nothing to scream about, but perfectly cromulent. He is, by all accounts, a hard worker and a good clubhouse guy. He’s the kind of player contending teams used to sign eagerly all the time, tabbing a veteran to plug into a problematic spot and hold the line.

If it were just baseball coverage, we would understand. Vanderbilt alum Buster Olney is fully immersed within the baseball reporting matrix, and could easily embiggen our provincial blog by reading, laughing at, and sharing our work with other baseball writers. Were that it was only that easy.

No, the friggin’ Gray Lady herself, The New York Times, keeps using the word (though mostly in the explanations of Crossword puzzle answers).

■ 55A: We need to note the occasion of a clue for ONO that isn’t about the singer Yoko ONO. As far as I can tell, it’s happened once before in 2014, but I empathize with the editors, I really do. Imagine how it feels to see ONO — a perfectly cromulent entry, but very common — for what feels like the millionth time, and having such slim pickings when it comes to cluing choices. I would have gone with the mackerel, too.

...and again.

This is Mr. Spitz’s first themeless crossword in The New York Times, and I love that he opens with and debuts AMAZEBALLS, a perfectly cromulent word. I know what some of you are going to say, so allow me to get out ahead of that: It’s in the Oxford English Dictionary. You’re welcome.

...and again.

These entries may all be perfectly cromulent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a peek at the answer key. While the answers are free to everyone, the crossword puzzles require a subscription.

Here’s the thing: all cultural phenomena are started by someone, somewhere. In 4th grade, I created the joke name “Haywood Jablomi,” when I was dually obsessed with 1) Tecmo Super Bowl, and more specifically, the name of Houston Oiler’s WR Haywood Jeffries and 2) Joke names such as Dick Hertz, Mike Hunt, Phil McCracken, and Dick Trickle (*note: former Nascar driver Dick Trickle’s parents must have been similarly obsessed). Yes, I ended up in the Principal’s office upon putting that as my name on a standardized test, mother.

It was not until graduate school when I heard the name again—spoken by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, no less, and realized that the Law of Conservation of Energy applies to jokes.

Of course, no one believed me when I yelled, “That was mine!” Hell, the Lady Friend humors me on it, but doesn’t believe it. You likely don’t believe it, either.

Fuck you.

Regardless, something is happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. Why now, and not, say, the late 90s?

Or maybe Simpsons nerds are legion, and are old enough to be in positions of power now.

Either way, a noble spirit embiggens us all.