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Too Sensible & Competent

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  • Too Sensible & Competent

    A controversy arose earlier this year as to whether Anne Barrett could have written the words "Frequented my club", an erroneous expression which appears in the Diary. We were told that she was "far too sensible and competent" to have made such a mistake.

    Well, actually, of course we weren't "told" this, we are never told anything, it was put in the form of a question as follows:

    "wasn't Anne far too sensible and competent to have written the nonsensical 'frequented my club' with a straight face?"

    But the answer we were supposed to have given was "yes she was far too sensible and competent" so it amounts to the same thing.

    A slight hiccup in this argument arose when RJ Palmer pointed out that back in 2005, when it was being claimed that Anne typed out a transcript of the Diary despite that transcript containing a number of errors, Anne was then supposed to be quite fallible and it was said by the same person who asked the above question:

    "I don't know why you think that because Anne worked as a secretary and managed to get a book published she would not have made the kind of mistakes you have identified. The legal secretaries where I work are certainly capable of the most elementary blunders on occasion"

    An amusing diversionary tactic followed when the same person, clearly rattled by the contradiction shown by her 2005 post, decided to respond to an imaginary strawman argument which no-one had ever made, namely that it was being said that Anne's literacy skills were the same as Mike's.

    First we had this on 6th April:

    "Anne worked as a secretary, so unless she was considerably more literate than Mike was, bless him, I'm not sure how she'd have held down a job like that for long. It would have been pretty much a basic requirement, probably more so than for other lowly clerical posts such as filing clerks and office juniors"

    It was a false argument because, with Mike's literacy skills being so low, she could easily be considerably more literate than Mike yet still make the same mistakes in the diary and still write "Frequented my club". Then we were told:

    "But what's truly hilarious is the idea that there wasn't much to choose between Anne and Mike, or that she didn't need to have considerably better literacy skills than him in order to work as a secretary."

    The idea that there wasn't much to choose between Anne and Mike, or that Anne and Mike had equivalent literacy skills, was an idea existing only as a figment of that poster's imagination. It wasn't something anyone had ever suggested. The only question under discussion was whether Anne might have allowed herself to write "Frequented my club" although, of course, the wider issue was whether, while transcribing the Diary, she could also have made the other mistakes found in it. As to that, we were told:

    "if I had to constantly correct the typing of a secretary working for me, I think I'd soon be looking for a new one"

    The implication was clear; as Anne was a secretary she could not have made many mistakes in her written English otherwise she would have been out of a job and thus, as there are many mistakes in the Diary, she could not have transcribed the Diary as Mike claimed she did (at least not with "a straight face").

    Until now, there has been no material available to check Anne's written English. The only document available to us has been a transcript of a telephone message by her in which she used the expression "I seen", an error dismissed as of no consequence due to it supposedly not being unusual for Liverpudlians.

    However, I've been able to locate a few letters written by Anne [to Mike] in 1994/1995 (one typed, the others handwritten) from which I can confirm that she is not above making basic errors of English. Here are some examples (indicated by my red highlighting):

    "he knows the type of keys and rythams she will need "

    "She is also getting quiet a reputation as a singer and in the last 2 weeks has sang solos in Church..."

    "They are reading “The Hobbit” in English which she or any one else can’t make head nor tale off..."

    "People get divorced every day it is only you who are making this one so cruel..."

    "And when you did retrieve it you had the bloody gaul to send the card to her…"

    "Your messages of tonight have gone in the bin were they belong."

    Far too sensible and competent to make basic errors of English? Clearly not.

  • #2
    All errors of grammar, no spelling mistakes.

    I remember using word processors in the 1980s, spell checkers were pretty standard, grammar probably not. I wonder if the whole idea of Mike's WP came from Ann and her work?

    Mike is clearly not the illiterate idiot he has been made out to be the last 20 years and Ann is no Susie Dent.
    Last edited by DirectorDave; 04-23-2018, 12:36 PM.
    My opinion is all I have to offer here,

    Dave.

    Smilies are canned laughter.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DirectorDave View Post
      All errors of grammar, no spelling mistakes.

      I remember using word processors in the 1980s, spell checkers were pretty standard, grammar probably not. I wonder if the whole idea of Mike's WP came from Ann and her work?

      Mike is clearly not the illiterate idiot he has been made out to be the last 20 years and Ann is no Susie Dent.
      Agree with your last sentence. But aren’t most of them spelling mistakes?
      "Is all that we see or seem
      but a dream within a dream?"

      -Edgar Allan Poe


      "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
      quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

      -Frederick G. Abberline

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
        Agree with your last sentence. But aren’t most of them spelling mistakes?
        Out of seven errors, there are two grammar problems and five spelling mistakes. So, yes.

        (I get the feeling from some of the sample sentences that they were written hastily, with some emotion behind them, for whatever that is worth...)
        Pat D.
        ---------------
        Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
        ---------------

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pcdunn View Post
          (I get the feeling from some of the sample sentences that they were written hastily, with some emotion behind them, for whatever that is worth...)
          I see no sign of hastiness in the handwritten letters, which look to me to be neatly written, and the last two examples were from a carefully typed letter.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
            Agree with your last sentence. But aren’t most of them spelling mistakes?
            I'm not even sure where I was going with that.
            My opinion is all I have to offer here,

            Dave.

            Smilies are canned laughter.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
              I see no sign of hastiness in the handwritten letters, which look to me to be neatly written, and the last two examples were from a carefully typed letter.
              That's very interesting, David. The last two examples were the ones I was thinking seemed the most emotional. I suppose I meant by "hastily written" done without much forethought, rather than actually written quickly.
              The spelling errors are often of words which sound alike ("gaul" for "gall", for instance), and even if neatly written or typed, she did not seem to have proof-read her work.
              Pat D.
              ---------------
              Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
              ---------------

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pcdunn View Post
                I suppose I meant by "hastily written" done without much forethought, rather than actually written quickly.
                So you think your previous post was a bit hastily written?

                Originally posted by Pcdunn View Post
                The spelling errors are often of words which sound alike ("gaul" for "gall", for instance), and even if neatly written or typed, she did not seem to have proof-read her work.
                But that assumes that if she had proof-read her work she would have identified the error which in turn assumes that she could correctly spell "gall" about which there is no possible basis to form a conclusion. I mean, it's obvious that any basic errors in written work could either be the result of carelessness or ignorance but there is no way we can know which one applies in these instances in Anne's correspondence. That's not terribly important, though, because the issue I was addressing was whether Anne was capable of making basic errors of English in her written work and, clearly, she was. In the same way we simply don't know if the author of the diary made basic errors through carelessness or ignorance (I rule out the ridiculous notion that the errors were deliberate).

                On a few instances, however, we have some clues. For example, the diary author on some occasions confuses "of" and "off" hence:

                "However, the pleasure of writing off all that lays ahead of me...",

                "I ate all off it"

                But on other occasions, indeed, in the first paragraph of the diary, the author shows the ability to use "of" correctly:

                "Will have to come to some sort of decision regards the children. I long for peace of mind…" and even a few words after writing "off all" we can see above that the author correctly wrote "ahead of me".

                In the same way, we see that Anne wrote that no-one could make "head nor tale off" The Hobbit whereas she could use the word "of" correctly because she gets it right at other times and, for example, in the same letter she wrote "I have no intention of seeing..."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                  Until now, there has been no material available to check Anne's written English. The only document available to us has been a transcript of a telephone message by her in which she used the expression "I seen", an error dismissed as of no consequence due to it supposedly not being unusual for Liverpudlians.

                  However, I've been able to locate a few letters written by Anne [to Mike] in 1994/1995 (one typed, the others handwritten) from which I can confirm that she is not above making basic errors of English.
                  I wonder if David told his source for these letters [and the word processor invoice while I'm at it] how 'disgraceful' it was that this material had not been made available to everyone many years ago, along with everything else in the Barrett/Gray treasure trove, which Melvin Harris acquired, and which he left on his death in 2004 to be circulated among modern hoax conspiracy theorists, like board retirees Peter Birchwood and the Big JO - John Omlor - and no doubt others who still lurk or post occasionally, or are recent returnees.

                  Not that it matters much, but without having sight of the original correspondence in its entirety, people who usually hang on David's every word and don't mind the overt hypocrisy, can't really be expected to judge from the half dozen extracts he has chosen to reveal on this thread whether these are the only errors identified or just a carefully selected few; what proportion the chosen extracts form of the whole correspondence; or even whether he may have made the odd transcription error himself in the posting. It's a fairly pointless exercise if people are only judging David's transcriptions of half a dozen lines, not knowing if Anne may have written hundreds of others in error-free English, suggesting no more than the occasional lapse in concentration that affects 99.9% of us. Only a direct comparison with all the original letters supposedly quoted from could provide any useful insight into Anne's true writing abilities, so any claim that everyone can now check Anne's 'written English' would be a trifle fanciful, not to say premature.

                  Even with the examples given, it surely needs to be taken into account that Anne was writing for Mike's eyes only, and would have had no need to read through and correct any errors she was able to identify, if he wouldn't know them if they bit him. She was in the process of divorcing him in 1994, not trying to make an impression, which he would hardly have appreciated in any case. How unfair would it look if David's only available post in years to come was one which happened to contain a very basic apostrophe error and was transcribed by someone to say something about his written English? And yet people post here for public scrutiny and they have time to check their work even after submission, so they have the opportunity to make basic errors due to haste or a momentary loss of concentration disappear like magic, as long as they recognise them in time and can be arsed.

                  More useful perhaps, in a Barrett forgery context, would be to know the dates in 1994 and 1995 when Anne sent these private letters to Mike. Naturally enough they won't contain a single direct or indirect reference to their joint forgery enterprise and how it all turned so sour for them or, as I told Mighty Mel when he used to write the occasional post, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, he'd have screamed it from the rooftops the instant Alan Gray had delivered the offending missive to him, not kept everyone in suspenders, waiting for this non-libellous, genuine, first-hand smoking gun at last:

                  'Mike, you stupid git, why did you have to spill the beans about us forging the diary, ruining the future financial security we had planned for ourselves and risking us being prosecuted by the likes of Doreen, Shirley, Robert and Paul Feldman for having conned the silly bastards?'

                  However, if Anne made any mention of the diary at all, in any of those letters, including perhaps a pithy comment about Mike's attempt to implicate her in his forgery claims, it would at least show that her priorities at the time were not totally, 100% of a domestic nature, like the short extracts that have been posted so far.

                  Have a really great weekend all.

                  Love,

                  Caz
                  X
                  "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A nerve has been hit!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, there are secretaries and then there are secretarys, I guess.
                      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                        A nerve has been hit!
                        Sorry to hear that, David.

                        I'll try to be more gentle in future.

                        It's always nice to see new material emerging, even if it's by way of posting limited extracts, selected and transcribed from original documentation, which means the letters themselves, and what they might have been able to tell us about the author, cannot usefully be discussed.

                        This reminds me that on at least two occasions over the years one prominent modern hoax conspiracy theorist offered me - a "Diary Defender" no less! - all his diary material and I declined, advising him to cut out the middle woman and give it all straight to Keith Skinner.

                        I'm rather glad I didn't take up these generous offers, because now I'd be vulnerable to accusations of holding back evidence for a Barrett hoax. I could hardly have proved there were no smoking guns in that material, even though I've always been confident there couldn't be, or they'd have come out years ago, while Melvin Harris still had a nerve in his trigger finger.

                        Since you are happy to publish extracts from Anne's private correspondence to Mike, we now know you'd have the nerve to publish, once and for all, the proof that she was knowingly involved with him in forging the diary - if you had it.

                        So once again, I'm sorry for hitting that nerve, but at least you won't get any aggravation from me if you choose not to let everyone see the original letters, including those handwritten by your suspected forger. I'm sure they'll all understand your reasons perfectly.

                        Love,

                        Caz
                        X
                        Last edited by caz; 04-30-2018, 07:21 AM.
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I must say I wasn’t aware that there are people who hang on to my every word. In fact, the only person who I thought ever read all my posts was the person who keeps replying to all of them!

                          The only reason the extracts I posted from Anne’s correspondence have any relevance to the topic of the Diary at all is because that same person recently claimed, ludicrously, that Anne was "far too sensible and competent" to make basic errors of English – in particular “Frequented my club”. We really didn’t need to see any actual errors made by Anne because it was never likely that she was infallible. And it doesn’t matter if the rest of Anne’s correspondence is written in perfect English (for which see below).

                          It strikes me as the height of desperation to be living in hope that the errors I posted are transcription errors on my part (they are not!).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It was very recently pointed out by no less a source than the world's leading expert on the Diary that:

                            "Our diarist hardly uses the humble apostrophe at all - not even of the greengrocer variety."

                            So that made me wonder about Anne Barrett's relationship with the apostrophe.

                            Lo and behold, here is what I found in her correspondence:

                            "Why you should do that when you were sending notes by the dozen to my fathers address, I don’t know."

                            AND

                            "I had to get two police officers to stand at my fathers funeral"

                            AND

                            "My sex life, or lack of it is my own business, not yours or anyone elses"

                            AND

                            "Well lets face it Mike"

                            AND

                            "It is Helens birthday on Sunday"

                            AND

                            "Thats her second certificate"

                            So, by pure coincidence, Anne seems to hardly use the humble apostrophe at all, just like the author of the diary. Other than her using it in words such as "don't", "won't" etc., the only example I found of her including one, in the limited correspondence in my possession, was when referring to "Paul's answer machine". Fancy that!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well you won't find a won't or a don't - or a lets or a thats for that matter - in the diary, because it's all: I do not/I will not/let us/that is throughout its 63 pages.

                              Or throughout it's 63 pages, if it makes you feel more at home.

                              But really, David, let it go. Anne's writing skills are not on show in that diary, nor was she copying the work of someone else into the guardbook between 1st and 12th April 1992. That is plain bonkers.

                              Unless of course her handwritten letters have given you pause...

                              ...but no. You'd have put up an image in a heartbeat if you thought it wouldn't be another own goal - like that terrible quality copy of a photo of an original writing sample by Nick Warren, using Diamine, which proves bugger all about the diary.

                              Love,

                              Caz
                              X
                              "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


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