Could you please tell me if the word "promoter" in this excerpt from the chapter Four of The Great Gatsby means "speculator" or has another meaning? Da Fontano the promoter came there and Ed Legros...
Could you please tell me if the word "promoter" in this excerpt from the chapter Four of The Great Gatsby means "speculator" or has another meaning?
Da Fontano the promoter came there and Ed Legros and James B. (“Rot-Gut”) Ferret and the De Jongs and Ernest Lilly—they came to gamble and when Ferret wandered into the garden it meant he was cleaned out and Associated Traction would have to fluctuate profitably next day.
The word "promoter" definitely does not mean "speculator," like an investor who takes risks on Wall Street. "Promoter" was mostly used in Fitzgerald's time to characterize a man who promoted special events, and most often these were boxing matches. Boxing was much more popular in the 1920s than it is today. One reason was that the matches could be held at night when men were off work because they didn't require the elaborate outdoor lighting that exists today for baseball, football, and other sporting events. A promoter might also promote stage shows and perhaps other special events. When a man promoted a boxing match, he was the one who made the arrangements between the managers of two boxers, who set the date for the fight, hired the arena (often at Madison Square Garden), arranged the publicity, sold the tickets, and handled all the other details of that particular event. No doubt a promoter would promote virtually anything if it would make him money. The word suggests a man who is a little bit shady and who has plenty of "connegtions."
Ernest Hemingway's story "Fifty Grand" is probably the best description of the world of boxing in the 1920s. Steinfelt and Morgan, the two gamblers who persuade the champion to bet against himself might be described as promoters, although they did not promote the fight between Jack Brennan and Jim Walcott.
The term "promoter" is not used much anymore, if at all. There are many promoters in Hollywood who call themselves "producers." They make something out of virtually nothing, getting an option on a script, getting a bankable star interested, using this to raise money, etc. Another term for promoters is "wheelers and dealers." Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby might be described as something of a promoter, since Gatsby tells Nick that Wolfsheim was the man who fixed the 1919 World Series.