Special down at Sartre’s

I did find out from a search* that there is a (supposedly) common idiom “money for old rope” meaning something like “easy money”. That doesn’t explain what it’s doing here, really.

Also, is the setting at Sartre’s more meaningful or decorative?

(*And that professional etymologists don’t much like the folk etymology about shipboard use of rope to caulk gaps in wood planks.)

 “Hell is other people” Department

(This one below not a CIDU; more of a LOL.)

When I was saving and then posting the Lard above, I thought the Sartre’s store was one of their fairly frequent locales; but I didn’t find one, on a quick backwards scroll thru the recent archive. Fine, so I treated it as unusual and made it part of this post’s title. And then a couple days later they give us this:


  1. I googled < sartre rope > and got precisely nothing except: “In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 0 already displayed.”

  2. @narmitaj: Ha!

    Why does Sartre’s have “7:0” in its window? Or is that a failed attempt at showing two rectangular panes or something?

    I searched for “old rope” and got … “Can you take Viagra if you have an enlarged prostate?” Really.

  3. Usually, you give people “plenty of rope” so that they can hang themselves. How that applies in this case, I’m not sure. Maybe since their marketing is so bad.

  4. A late “Aha!” for something at the back of my mind that I couldn’t pull up while writing this post. It was Ropa vieja which may look like it has something to do with old rope but is Spanish for old clothes. As a dish I learned of it first at an Argentine restaurant in Chicago, but Wikipedia says was probably Cuban first. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ropa_vieja

    However, this probably does not actually connect to Old rope in English. Oh well, at least I’ve gotten rid of it mumbling at me from the back of my head. Now it’s trying to give me a homework assignment but I will just pass it along: Check whether there is historical / etymopogical connection between English “rope” and Spanish “ropa”. Both rope and clothes seem to be plant fiber products, right?

  5. I’ve certainly encountered the idiom before in British stuff, such as the script for the GOON SHOW’s “Napoleon’s Piano” —

    Splendid for you! Now, Neddie, here’s the money for moving the piano. There you are: five pounds in fivers.

    Five pounds for moving a piano? Ha ha ha! This is money for old rope.

    Is it? I’d have thought you’d have bought something more useful.

    No, no. I have simple tastes…

  6. “five pounds in fivers.” — ? What would that be, one of them? Or is “fivers” five of some other denomination? Not shillings I would think — 5s was a crown, wasn’t it?

  7. I’m perfectly familiar with the expression “money for old rope”. Maybe it’s one of those ‘chiefly British’ expressions, unfamiliar to Americans.

    Danny Boy, you are correct. A fiver was, and is, a five pound note. Five pounds in fivers would indeed be a single note.

  8. I’m not afraid to flaunt my ignorance: explain the second supposed LOL to me! My guess would be something about Hell being other people, but I can’t make it work, let alone enough to make me break the silence.

  9. I think the second is a comment on how now a days everyone takes selfies so no one will buy a camera that only takes pictures of other people.

  10. I agree with Sue but would put more emphasis on the initial step: they have developed this camera which will not take selfies. Why? Because they have attitude! But then there are the facts of commerce, a camera with that lack will never sell – and the management / developers will not be able to impose their anti-selfie stance on the public at large.

  11. “Five pounds in fivers” is a typical Goon Show line. Not exactly nonsense, because it does make sense, but not exactly sense either.

    “Why are you wearing only one boot?” “Because I’ve only got one boot!” “Yes, but why are you wearing it on your head?” “Because it fits.”

    “Most people call me by my nickname.” “What’s your nickname?” “Nick.”

  12. I googled < sartre rope > and got precisely nothing

    I got plenty of results. I’m not sure if the <> were actually part of the search or separators for the forum. Depending on exactly how I crafted the search, I either got links for Jean-Paul or for someone named Charlotte Sartre. The latter would seem to be NSFW, not that this would be a problem for me anymore.

  13. No, I didn’t put the < > in.

    Odd. All I got again was:

    About 0 results (1.28 seconds)

    Related searches
    Image of Sartre bad faith
    Sartre bad faith
    Image of Sartre bad faith
    Image of Sartre Being and Nothingness
    Sartre Being and Nothingness
    Image of Sartre Being and Nothingness


    sartre books
    sartre, the look
    being and nothingness amazon
    sartre, being-for-itself
    nothingness existentialism
    jean-paul sartre existentialism

    In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 0 already displayed.

    If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.

    United Kingdom
    – Based on your past activity
    – Update location
    HelpSend feedbackPrivacyTerms

  14. I just wrote the two words, sartre and rope. If I put husserl rope, I get hundreds of thousands (he was founder of phenomenology). Heidegger rope too. Beauvoir rope gets “About 4,880,000 results (0.44 seconds)”, Sartre being Simone de Beauvoir’s partner for 50 years. Plato rope 15 million, marx rope 23 million.

    If I put sartre rope in quotes, “sartre rope”, I get:

    Results for ‘"sartre rope"’ are hidden by SafeSearch.
    To see results

    Try a different search
    Turn off SafeSearch

  15. Yes, SafeSearch does seem to do that. Including the normal link this thread. My experience with that setting in the past has been very poor.

  16. On reading the first strip before reading the comments my thought was based on face value – that old rope is no good to use as it worn/falling apart so it was not something someone would want to buy, and the customer is the sort of person who is not that bright and would buy anything, including rope he (it? she?) and is what would be called a sucker or mark by con men.

  17. @narmitaj: there is a porn performer who goes by Charlotte Sartre, as mentioned above. DDG is finding many links to her bondage porn, and then immediately blocking them because you have safe search turned on.

  18. I have gotten used to the phrase “money for old rope” from doing cryptic crosswords from Australia. So, whether or not “money for old rope” is an actual common phrase to mean “a sinecure” or “a windfall”, it is a common phrase in Australian crossword puzzles.

  19. Your second comic’s heading kindled an ancient flame, or rather a tiny wisp of smoke: a Feiffer strip from around 1973. I clipped it, but have long since lost the clipping.

    All I can remember is that the Feiffer character says that he has a disease called OP. It causes the sufferer to crave a couple of things – maybe one is solitude, but memory fails me, and it’s only been 48 years, darn it. Anyway, OP turns out to be “Other People.”

    I’ve looked for the strip in a few different Feiffer collections over the years, and have never found it again. Just wondering if anyone else here remembers it (unlikely, I know) and can fill in the widening chasms in my recollection of it.

    FWIW, in the late 1990s, Feiffer’s comics were briefly available online at Uexpress.

    Sorry to veer so far off topic.

  20. @Lapin, nowadays what OP usually means to me is Original Poster, a term from a variety of social media platforms that include a structure of someone posting what’s also called a basenote and then others replying in a thread. The person posting that basenote can be addressed or referenced as OP.

  21. Mitch, spot on – that’s a fine example of how the language evolves. In 1973 Feiffer’s payoff worked because OP then didn’t have any really popular association – at least none that I can recall. Well, maybe opus, but that word wasn’t often used outside of the classical music world., and it would be another 8 years before Berke Breathed gave birth (so to speak) to the famed penguin.

    Also, I’ve just learned that the first post in a thread is called the basenote. Previously I would have identified that as the low note of a musical chord – no, wait, that’s the BASS note.

  22. Also, I’ve just learned that

    If you want to keep up with the kids, you can write “til” standing for “today I learned”

  23. There was a popular association to OP way back in the 1950’s. Talking about someone, the exchange might go like this:

    “What kind of cigarettes does he smoke?”
    “I’ve never heard of that kind. What are OP’s?”
    “Other People’s.”

    i.e. he never buys cigarettes but only bums them off people.

  24. Base note? That’s also a term in perfumery. You put on a cologne and it smells like one thing, but an hour later it smells like something else. The scents you smell right away are “top notes” and the ones that hang on for a while are “base notes”.

  25. Also, I’ve just learned that the first post in a thread is called the basenote.

    I have to say that I’ve been using various forums for many years, and I’ve never heard that. Sometimes I’ve seen the first also referred to as OP, and you have in use context to determine the exact usage.

  26. I’ve never heard “money for old rope” before this thread (no pun intended, but whatever)
    I understood it as “a fool and his money are soon parted”
    i.e. if you want to spend your money to buy some old rope, the seller won’t tell you that you’re a fool.

    (I would have posted sooner, but I thought someone else would say something similar)

  27. Brian in STL – really, you’ve never heard “basenote” in forums? How about “topnote”? They are for the same thing, but interestingly the base/top component of the compound is the opposite directional metaphor in the two cases.

    But in any case I didn’t mean to be saying anything about “basenote”! I was just using it, in the course of remarking on “OP”.

  28. FWIW, I think most dedicated cameras are just plain inconvenient to take selfies with, “special filter” or no.

  29. Right, not “notes” plain and simple. But “basenote” and “topnote” (for the same thing, lol) absolutely, all the time. More in documentation, install instructions and admin chatter than in the body of subject matter content.

  30. OK – doesn’t help explain the cartoon, but here is the origin of the phrase “money for old rope”. It does indeed mean getting paid for doing nothing/very little, for finding a very easy/effortless way to make money. Like a number of phrases/sayings common in the UK it dates back to the days of sail power. Ships then used a lot of rope, it was almost all of vital importance, and it had a hard life. When it got too old and damaged to be used on the ship any more it could easily still be OK for less demanding uses on land, like washing lines, tying up animals, holding gates shut, baling cloth…

    Sailors would hoard it, and sell it when they went ashore for a spot of R&R, (no doubt spending all the proceeds on R&R). They were getting, literally, money for old rope.

  31. The forum I use the most is Bogleheads, and is quite high traffic. I searched for “basenote” “base note” “topnote” and “top note”. I found no instances of any of these referring to posts. I’m not saying that other forums don’t, but the ones I’m familiar with haven’t adopted that usage.

  32. And the joke is she thought he was doing it from friendship, but it’s actually transactional, she can thank him via a very exact (and expensive?) cash amount. So then the only piece missing for me is does this have something touching the philosophy of Sartre? Or is that just a distraction?

  33. The only thing I notice that relates to his writings is the consideration about “other people” in the 2nd cartoon. And the famous quote “L’enfer, c’est les autres” is from Huis clos , a play rather than officially a philosophy text.

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