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Tom Loughlin

Interesting, Paul, but I always thought the phrase referred to something that appeared to have some reality, something that was thought to be alive, but never really was. A rag doll has the semblance of a person, but the "death of a rag doll" is the death of something that was never really alive to begin with. Perhaps it's really a question of semantics. -twl


Dude way to get all somber! Seriously though I like your red hot poking of theater executives and artistic directors. This blog has been, for me, a long standing place where I cam get a healthy dose of fury. That being said I some times wonder if the path toward a stronger local theater Really ends with some old dudes at Intiman and the Rep being like "oh shit you guys were right we should care about local artists, younger audiences, pushing the envelope...etc" The truth is I wonder if those execs have the aesthetic curiosity or even capacity to care.

Paul Mullin

Oh, trust me, Noah. I wonder the same thing. But here's the point I'm trying to make: these leaders do CLAIM to care. So either they do care and are incapable of making a difference or they DON'T care and are hypocrites. At this point in my life-- and as you know, I'm sort of an old dude now myself-- I have chosen to no longer ignore the incompetence and/or hypocrisy of the big houses.

They may well NOT be the key to making Seattle world class, but they do seem right now to be sitting smack in the middle of the road to Mecca.

I say to them, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."


Dear Paul,

This is the first time I have googled the phrase, "Dying the Death of a Rag Doll." I was surprised to find that the only good response was yours. My mother who was French Canadian, said this all the time. I always knew what she was talking about when she said it. She passed away a long time ago and I have just now tried to figure out the real meaning. The way my mother used it was to refer to her own disappointment, disability, fatigue, etc. "I'm dying the death of a rag doll."

It meant her condition. She was always in a state of near fatality.

I think the remark by twl said it best, "'A rag doll has the semblance of a person, but the "death of a rag doll" is the death of something that was never really alive to begin with.'"

It is odd that this phrase emerged on two coasts. My mother was born in a little town on the border of Canada and the US. Although the town was in the US, it was a completely French town. No English spoken. I thought that maybe the origin was in the Frencgh Canadian language, but, now, I think it is more univerasl than I thought.

If you should learn more about the phrase, please share.


Linda Reese


My mother used the expression too -- she was born and raised in the South. I've never heard it used by anyone else. Strange how phrases work their way into language; will this one die out with us . . .?

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