Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

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Mikhail
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Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by Mikhail » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:25 pm

In reviewing the Spider-Titles, I noticed that Mary Jane is listed as present in Marvel Team-Up #76 and #96. I can't find her in either. In MTU 76, Spidey mentions Mary Jane is out of town that day, but I don't think that meets BTS qualifications. In MTU 96, a redhead who vaguely resembles MJ is seen at the bottom of page 17, but I don't think it's her -- the woman is apparently part of a local news crew.

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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by Paul Bourcier » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:48 am

According to the Official Marvel Index to Marvel Team-Up #4, M.J. didn't qualify for a BTS in M/TU 76.

According to the Official Marvel Index to Marvel Team-Up #5, M.J. appears on panels 4 and 5 of page 11 of M/TU 96.
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Russ Chappell
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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by Russ Chappell » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:22 am

I think you mean Mary Jane Parker (nee Watson).


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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by Mikhail » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:03 pm

@Paul:

So we agree she shouldn't be listed for #76?

As for #96, that simply is not her. It's just some random redhead. Those panels are an Interlude (quote: "--and at a busy newsroom in Rockefeller Center--") where the staff of News Center 4 is discussing their top story for the evening, and ultimately decide to send a crew over to cover the main story with Spider-Man and Howard the Duck. Said redhead never speaks, is never referred to by name and, to my knowledge, Mary Jane was not working in a newsroom at this time.

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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by JephYork » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:05 pm

@Admin: Not anymore!
I don't think you know what "nee" means.

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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by Mikhail » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:55 pm

Actually, I've seen it used before to indicate post-divorce names, like Janet van Dyne nee Pym or Patsy Walker nee Hellstrom. If this is grammatically wrong, fine, whatever, but it hardly needs to be the point of the thread, huh?

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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by metaldragon » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:56 pm

"nee" usually means "born" as in: "birth name"- a woman's last name before she married.
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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by Russ Chappell » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:50 pm

Mikhail wrote:Actually, I've seen it used before to indicate post-divorce names, like Janet van Dyne nee Pym or Patsy Walker nee Hellstrom.
Then you've seen it used incorrectly. Nee is French for "born."
If this is grammatically wrong, fine, whatever, but it hardly needs to be the point of the thread, huh?
*shrug* No, of course not. But if you're seeking to communicate, calling her "Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)" is just...confusing.


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Re: Mary Jane Watson (nee Parker)

Post by michaelyuri » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:00 am

This is an interesting illustration of a very common process of semantic change. The word nee was introduced into English with the specific purpose of designating a woman's maiden name and was most often seen on newspaper society pages and the like. To people who are aware of the etymology (French for "born"), the meaning was transparent. But some who were not aware of its origin probably analyzed it in context and assumed it meant something like "formerly".

Also, as is extremely common, it began to be used in other metaphorical contexts where the literal meaning didn't apply -- for example to refer to entities that were never "born" at all (for example, try googling "Altria, nee Philip Morris"). This metaphorical extension helped to reinforce the "formerly" interpretation. And so, people start using the word in contexts that don't make sense based on the original meaning of the word (such as "Jane Maiden-name, nee Ex-husband's-name").

I would note that several popular dictionaries list "formerly known as" as a secondary definition, recognizing that the meaning has broadened to at least some degree. Although I have no evidence, I would be willing to bet that the word has been used in contexts where it couldn't literally mean "born" ever since it was introduced into English. I'd guess that if you scoured the old society pages you could probably find examples of women who had been adopted, where "nee" is used to refer to their pre-marriage name, despite the fact that they weren't born with it. I would be curious to see if that's true.

My impression is that usages that are 180 degrees reversed from the original meaning (like the Mary Jane Watson example) are still widely regarded as incorrect. The interesting question is whether the "formerly" sense will eventually completely win out, making this usage accepted, or whether enough people are aware of its origin that this will continue to be viewed as an error.

Anyway, enough armchair linguistics from me. Back to the comics.

Addendum: Here's a link to a discussion from a linguist of the use of "nee" to mean "also known as":
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/language ... 03243.html
-Mike

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