Definitions

Lower Slobbovia

Lower Slobbovia

[loh-er sluh-boh-vee-uh, slo-]
Lower Slobbovia (also sometimes called Outer, Inner, Central, Upper or Lowest Slobbovia) is an imaginary nation used in conversation to denote a non-specific, faraway country - generally connoting a place which is underdeveloped, socially backward, remote, impoverished or unenlightened. First coined by Al Capp (1909 - 1979), the term has also been used to refer in an informal way to any foreign country of no particular distinction.

Origin

Created by cartoonist Al Capp as an occasional exotic setting for his classic hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner (1934 to 1977); frigid, faraway Lower Slobbovia was fashioned as a pointedly political satire of backward nations and foreign diplomacy. The term, having entered the language, remains a contemporary reference.

In Li'l Abner, the hapless residents of Lower Slobbovia were perpetually waist-deep in several feet of snow, and icicles hung from every frostbitten nose. The favorite dish of the starving natives was raw polar bear - and "vice-versa". Lower Slobbovians spoke with burlesque pidgin-Russian accents; the miserable frozen wasteland of Capp's invention abounded in incongruous Yiddish humor. General Bullmoose or Senator Jack S. Phogbound - Capp's caricatures of ruthless business interests and corrupt political interests, respectively - were often pitted against those of the pathetic Lower Slobbovians in a classic mismatch of haves versus have-nots.

Conceptually based on Siberia, or perhaps specifically on Birobidzhan, Capp's icy hellhole was ruled by King Stubbornovsky the Last, (aka: King Nogoodnik). The Slobbovian politicians were even more corrupt than their Dogpatch counterparts. Their monetary unit was the "Rasbucknik", of which one was worth nothing, and a large quantity was worth even less, due to the trouble of carrying them around. Conditions couldn't be worse, as tourists were readily assured by the miserable, highly vocal residents.

Besides biting political satire, Capp employed black humor, irony, social commentary, parody and slapstick in his Slobbovia stories; the series featured many memorable moments over the years. Lena the Hyena was a resident of Lower Slobbovia, as was Slobbovian correspondent Quentin Rasputinreynolds, (a parody of World War II journalist, Quentin Reynolds.) The local children were read harrowing tales from Ice-sop's Fables, which were parodies of classic literary fables, but with a darkly sardonic twist. Liddle Noodnik, a local waif, was frequently employed to recite a farcical poem of greeting to visiting dignitaries, or sing the absurd Slobbovian national anthem. It went like this:

We are citizens of Slobbovia / (Oh, that this should be happening to us!) / We are giving you back to the Indians / (But they are refusing, of cuss!) / Ptui! to you, Slobbovia! / We hate your icebound coast / Of all the countries in the world / WE ARE HATING SLOBBOVIA MOST!!

Footnotes

References

Trivia

  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon Rabbit Romeo (1957), Millicent the rabbit - who arrives in a crate at Elmer Fudd's home - is said to be from Slobbovia. She is overweight, overbearing, socially inept, and speaks with a Russian or Eastern European accent.
  • Lower Slobbovia is an example of a contemporary dystopia in popular culture. Other imaginary nations of modern dystopian satire include: Paradiso in Why Worry? (1923), Klopstokia in Million Dollar Legs (1932), Freedonia in Duck Soup (1933), Tomainia and Bacteria in The Great Dictator (1940), Moronica in You Nazty Spy and I'll Never Heil Again (1940 and 1941), Vulgaria in Don’t Drink The Water (1969), San Marcos in Bananas (1971), Ignoramia in the Lair Of The Lummox episode from The Ren & Stimpy Show (1994), and Kazakhstan in Borat (2006). (Although Kazakhstan actually exists, the burlesque version created by comic Sacha Baron Cohen is wholly imaginary.)
  • The similarly fictitious cartoon nation of Elbonia in the Dilbert comic strip bears conceptual similarity to Lower Slobbovia.

See also

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