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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Letters and Communications > Goulston Street Graffito

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  #1  
Old 08-12-2017, 01:56 AM
Herlock Sholmes Herlock Sholmes is offline
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Default Can we profile the Ripper from the GSG?

I don't foresee this as a long thread but I thought that I'd try and get a few opinions. I imagine that if we took a poll asking if the GSG was written by Jack or not that the 'nots' would win? Possibly even by a significant margin. I've always leaned toward the opinion that it was. I'm a little like Cadosche though; just on the other side of the fence. So perhaps I should have called this thread 'can we profile the writer of the GSG?'

My point is one that I imagine has been made before, more than once, so apologies for going over old ground but hey, this is a forum about 1888 after all!

A thing that's always interested in me and I've wondered if it's at all suggestive is the fact that the writer managed to spell 'blamed' and 'nothing' correctly whilst mis-spelling the word 'Jews.' With the double negative hinting at a not-so-good grasp of basic grammar and the spelling of 'juwes' showing poor spelling the impression that we get is of someone of poor education. But if he could spell two tricky words correctly and yet get a simpler one wrong are we dealing with someone trying to downplay or hide his level of education? If so, then surely someone would only do that if they felt that their level of education was considerably above that of an average Whitechapel resident? The writing was also said to be in a good schoolboy hand hinting at decent penmanship.

So what can we deduce if anything?

Could the spelling of 'juwes' have been a deliberate insult. An example of 'I'm not even going to spell your name correctly.' Like someone talking to Nigel Farrage but pronouncing his surname to rhyme with marriage instead of barrage as an insult.

Was Jack a decently educated man who had come down in the world? Perhaps someone who blamed the Jews and prostitutes for the degraded area in which he was forced to live? Perhaps he felt that the Jews never received any blame for the 'harm' that they had caused? Perhaps the double negative is also mocking local speech and the locals poor education? So can we also see a man who sees himself as superior to those around him. Someone to whom fate has been cruel?

Someone who felt justified in taking revenge?
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:05 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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Well the real answer is, who knows if he was educated or not.

I'm reasonably well educated, but spell some words wrong all the time, I know people who gave little education but spell perfectly.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:12 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
I imagine that if we took a poll asking if the GSG was written by Jack or not that the 'nots' would win? Possibly even by a significant margin.
I wouldn't be surprised if it came out closer to 50:50 - the GSG still pretty much divides opinion.
Quote:
A thing that's always interested in me and I've wondered if it's at all suggestive is the fact that the writer managed to spell 'blamed' and 'nothing' correctly whilst mis-spelling the word 'Jews.'
The odd thing about that is that, given the substantial input that religious charitable movements had on improving working-class literacy (Sunday Schools, the various temperance movements, Christian charities etc), as well as the preponderance of Jewish immigrants on the streets of Whitechapel and stories about them in the press, I'd have expected that it was within the grasp of most people to spell the word "Jews" correctly. Perhaps it wasn't so much a mis-spelling, as a mis-reading?
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:31 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Flynn View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if it came out closer to 50:50 - the GSG still pretty much divides opinion.The odd thing about that is that, given the substantial input that religious charitable movements had on improving working-class literacy (Sunday Schools, the various temperance movements, Christian charities etc), as well as the preponderance of Jewish immigrants on the streets of Whitechapel and stories about them in the press, I'd have expected that it was within the grasp of most people to spell the word "Jews" correctly. Perhaps it wasn't so much a mis-spelling, as a mis-reading?
I wouldn't rule out a mis-reading either.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:32 AM
FrankO FrankO is offline
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Here are a couple of my thoughs, Micheal:
  • The graffito has always struck me as a rather roundabout way of saying something
  • My take is that it’s supposed to mean that we shouldn’t blame the Jews without good reason
  • Which makes the graffito like a punishment line that children write at school

All the best,
Frank
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:39 AM
Herlock Sholmes Herlock Sholmes is offline
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A mid-reading is always a possibility of course. You would have thought though with the number of people seeing it you would get a reasonable consensus. The point doesn't alter if it was written juews. Something about the spelling appeared to draw attention? Maybe?
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:52 AM
DJA DJA is offline
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Reckon Jack used GSG as a red herring to draw attention towards the Flower and Dean/Hanbury Street area, where he did not live.

He essentially said,the Jews did not kill "nothing" and we know that was the "name" Eddowes gave the police.

It was the start of school term and Jack was not only carrying chalk but could also write in the dark. He was not tall.

Given his skill at Mitre Square,he might be a medical lecturer.

Early murders around Hanbury Street at night might indicate a dedicated worker on his way home from late night lectures.

Hmm!
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:17 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
A mis-reading is always a possibility of course. You would have thought though with the number of people seeing it you would get a reasonable consensus.
This is perhaps where the mis-reading hypothesis gains a little support. If one source said that it was "Jews", but others said "Juwes" or even "Jewes" (etc), it could simply have been a case of an ambiguous visual stimulus being interpreted differently. It might just have been a wonkily-written (but correctly-spelt) "Jews" all along.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:42 AM
Harry D Harry D is offline
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Quote:
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My take is that it’s supposed to mean that we shouldn’t blame the Jews without good reason
I beg to differ. I think the author is implying that Jews don't take responsibility for their actions, a mindset that is still prevalent in antisemitic circles today. Martin Fido took this interpretation as the basis for his 'ripped off customer' theory. However, I think the author might have meant it in a general sense, perhaps even religiously, i.e. the Jews won't accept the blame for killing Christ.
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:05 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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However, I think the author might have meant it in a general sense, perhaps even religiously, i.e. the Jews won't accept the blame for killing Christ.
I was in Christ Church, Spitalfields only yesterday - the first time I've actually been inside, believe it or not, despite umpteen visits to Whitechapel. I was amazed to find the lobby full of memorial plaques to those preachers and missionaries of Christ Church devoted to missionary work among the Jews of the area. (Christ Church seems to have served as a "base" for Christian missionaries to the Jews.) One plaque mentioned the good work of one proselyte to work with the Jews to put right the "wrongs of centuries", or words to that effect. I took "the wrongs of centuries" as a specific, if veiled, reference to the Jews' "complicity" in the crucifixion. A small shudder went up my spine.
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