Scrod

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A "scrod" was the creature in the trash-masher in the original Star Wars. [1]

Scrod was popular in-joke among some media fans in the mid to late 1970s. [2] It began when several fans, one of them Paula Smith, were perplexed by the offering of "scrod fingers" on a menu. [3] [4] [5]

A fan in 1978 wrote a zine review:
Next comes a section devoted to (of all things) scrod - fingered scrod, yet. Scrod, for those of you who don't know what they are (my self included), are other/ise known as codfish. This section consists of a short essay on scrod entitled "The Meaning of Scrod in Modern Life" (M. Octyme), 2 poems "Homage to Scrod" (Paula Block), sung to the tune of "Ein Fester Burg," and "The Morass of My Mind" (Karen Klinck), sung to the tune of "The Windmills of Your Mind." There is also a short parody called "And the Scrod Shall Inherit" (Paula Block). I couldn't stop laughing after I read it. The parody intertwines both the Star Wars & Star Trek universes (plus scrods, of course) and it does so with hysterical results. [6]
An example of the difficulty of trying to translate specific fannish humor, even to supposedly other fans is seen in a review for Startoons:
The problem is that Startoons wasn't designed for fans. A fan has seen most of this before -- and much of it was better before the editing, re-drawing and re-writing. This book is designed for Everybody Else, closet fan to mundane. Yet at the same time, the readers almost have to be knowledgeable about all the major SF movies and TV shows of the past several years. Those who aren't will miss most of the jokes. Strangely, (or perhaps not) the part that seem the weakest are those most fannish. The Scrod, for example, suffers from an attempt to translate an 'in' joke, and becomes only marginally humorous as a result." [7]
In other words, you had to have been there...

The scrod jumped to at least one fandom, likely due to two reasons: there weren't all that many media fandoms at the time, and the scrod's main instigator was Paula Smith, who was a BNF in several of them. From a 1981 reference in the Starsky & Hutch letterzine, S and H: "The 'hush-hush' business in S&H is taking place because there is a scrod in the trashmasher. There are individuals not 'in' this fandom, but interested in gaining influence over it, who would dearly love to do so on the impetus of a "morality" crusade."

The Scrod in Fanworks

  • scrod was the subject of at least one con skit: the T'Con play "And the Scrod Shall Rise Again" (1978)
  • "The Meaning of Scrod in Modern Life" by M. Octyme (from Warped Space #31/32) (1978)
  • "Homage to Scrod" by Paula Smith (filk to the tune "obviously" of "Zin Fester Burg" in Warped Space #31/32)
  • "The Morass of my Mind" by Karen Klinck ([[filk to the tune of "Windmills of My Mind" from Warped Space #31/32)
  • "And the Scrod Shall Inherit" by Paula Block (Star Trek story from from Warped Space #31/32)
  • a Scrod art portfolio by Amy Harlib (from Warped Space #31/32)
  • the zine Scrods and Ends riffs on this humor (1981)
  • the Star Wars zine Equal Space has excerpts from the ""Galactic Gourmet" by Cam Greer: "This issue we bring you Beruberry milkshakes and Bantha Burgers. All recipes kitchen-tested by the editor, taste-tested by her pet scrod." (1980)

Gallery

Other Examples of Very, Very Specific Fannish In-Jokes

from S and H in 1980
  • the subtitles relating to turtles and alligator-like reptiles may have roots in some in-jokes that circulated in some early issues (1980) of S and H. "Hutch sleeps like an alligator" is one such reference. So is the title of the zine Adventures of a Chelonian in Collaboration with a Cayman.

References

  1. "Also in this ish is it explained good and forever the existential reality of Scrod (or the Dia Nogu, as Lucas so mundanely labeled the periscopic thing in the garbage bin) by M. Octyme, K. Klinck, P. Block, and Yrs. Truly" -- from Menagerie #14.
  2. A review for Warped Space #31/32, printed in Scuttlebutt #6 -- "...one delightful piece is 'The Meaning of Scrod]' and scrod finger jokes that started in the vicinity of Pittsburgh fandom."
  3. It appears that these fans were perplexed not by the use of the word "scrod" (a term for fish) but by the "finger" use. This was about 15 years before the ubiquitous "chicken finger" menu item.
  4. These fans were clearly American, and not familiar with "fish fingers," the British term for for "fish sticks." They were also clearly not Doctor Who fans...
  5. from "The Meaning of Scrod in Modern Life" by M. Octyme in Warped Space #31/32 - ""Scrod," the modern skeptic says. "Scrod has nothing to do with me. I live my life, and Scrod, if there is a Scrod, can live Its." "But Scrod has a way of making Itself felt, even in these modern times. Look now, at this story of Scrod in Today's World: [a bewildered scene in a restaurant, purple description of scrod in the trash master on Star Wars' Death Star] And it happened that the Scrod, being encased in several meters of garbage, was not destroyed with the Death Star, but was flung into hyperspace, plummeting through space, time, and warps to the planet Earth, the next-to-the-farthest place from the bright center of the universe, yea, even unto Pittsburgh. And it is thus that the Finger of Scrod is seen on Earth, and its influence can be seen in many things ... for Scrod hath permeated the creative consciousness of the planet .. . "Whom Scrod Destroys," "Scrod: 1999," "Chariot of the Scrods," "In Scrod We Trust" Can any doubt that the Kingdom of Scrod is truly at hand?"
  6. from Fleet #21 (April 1978)
  7. from Datazine #1 (1980)