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One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

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  • Originally posted by caz View Post
    Gradually getting up to speed, I noticed this claim of yours, which I would like to explore further if I may. When is the earliest documented example that you have found of the expression "one off instance", or something similar, before the diary emerged in 1992? What I'm after is where and when you imagine our diarist might have heard or read that exact expression in order to copy it.
    I think I answered this in #2152, as quoted below:

    'Prior to the Second World War, I have found "one off pattern" (1925) and "one off product" (1942). Then, after the war, "one off nature" (1953), "one off effort" (1960) and "one off event" (1963). The first examples of "one off occasion", "one off affair", "one off episode", "one off incident", "one off occurrence" and "one off appearance" that I have been able to locate have all been from the 1970s.'

    By 1992, the expression "one off instance" and similar was in common usage so we don't need to identify a particular source for it.

    I am, however, glad to see that you have taken note of the fact that I have not referred to "the need for examples of the exact phrase 'one-off instance'" as you have posted elsewhere. It is not merely the "exact phrase" that I am saying did not exist as such in 1888, but anything similar.

    This includes "one off job". That expression, I am saying, did not exist in 1888 - so the diarist could not have referred to a murder as 'a one off job' - and when it did subsequently come into existence it was originally only referring to some form of manufactured item or engineering or design job. It was some years before anyone thought to apply it (almost metaphorically) to something else unique or special and before it entered the English language with this meaning.

    I will develop the point separately.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Pierre View Post
      I can not see any reason as to why the Whitechapel killer would have written a diary.

      Pierre
      You must be the infamous 'Pierre'?

      Your infamy travels perhaps as far as the Mighty Soothsayer's and for a long time it was indeed tempting to imagine you were in fact he. Well done (it barely seems possible that we might have two in the world, but there you are). Welcome to The Greatest Thread of All.

      For all the great man was truly psychotically unhinged (allegedly), I doubt even in his least lucid moments he could ever have dreamed of so utterly obtuse a statement!

      In the words of the great Kenny of Dalgleish: "Mebbes aye, mebbes no". Which is - I think - another way of saying "I think your premise is difficult to fathom, sir".

      Why would anyone write a diary? And yet they do! Why would anyone not write a diary? And yet they don't!

      I do hope that has helped, Pierre.

      Ike
      Iconoclast

      Comment


      • I don't think it's seemly to be responding to posts on another forum on this forum and I don't want to make a habit of it. But people are making some basic mistakes of understanding so I will attempt to take this subject back to basics.

        1. Some people seem to think that they just need to find a combination of the words "one" and "off" in the nineteenth century (or early twentieth century, it seems) and hallelujah they have proved the diary to be genuine! It is not as simple as that. What needs to be found is "one off" to mean unique.

        2. In its original form, "one off" meant no more and no less than "one". So why did anyone add "off"? I assume it's because if you wrote "one" or "two" on a plan it would be confusing and unclear what was meant. So the word "off" (which, as I have said earlier, probably means "off the stocklist") was added as, in effect, a notation. In this way it served the same purpose as the notation "x" where you have "x1", "x2" etc. You could just write "1" or "2" but the x indicates a quantity in an order. Writing "one off" showed that you needed one of an item in the same way as "two off" meant you needed two and "fifty off" meant you needed fifty. There was no meaning there at all of unique.

        3. Because we are so familiar with the expression "one off" as something unique it is not strange to us but when you think about it the expression "one off" is weird. There is no reason why adding "off" to "one" makes something unique or special. A "one time job" might have made more sense than a "one off job". Indeed, you might have read an online article which says that Americans (in the past) have found "one off" to be a confusing expression, thinking that "off" is a typo and it should be "one of" which would make more sense.

        4. The notation of "one off" to mean "one" was clearly so obscure that in 24 years since the discovery of the diary, no-one has managed to find a single confirmed example of this notation on a plan or anywhere else. I agree that it must have existed but rather in the same way that astronomers and scientists know that planets, which they have never seen, must exist because of the gravitational effect they have on other bodies. So while I agree that it must have been used, it was very obscure and understood as a notation of quantity by engineers, foundrymen, patternmakers etc. only. It was not even used as a notation of quantity outside of this narrow field. Normal human beings would not have had a clue in the nineteenth century that "one off" meant one, any more than they would have understood other engineering terms or practices.

        5. There was evidently a transitional phase between what I refer to as phase 1 and phase 2 and the evidence points to this being in the early twentieth century when "one off" did take on the meaning of unique but only in the sense of unique manufacturing or engineering jobs or designs and only to engineers etc.

        6. For an engineer, a "one off" was important because of the cost and design implications of making a single widget (or whatever) as opposed to a long run of widgets. So the phrase entered the engineering journals as the engineers discussed how to deal with one off jobs.

        7. But this talk was clearly and undeniably confined to the engineering profession (and similar professions) in its early years. There is no doubt that someone who knew of the expression could have gone through the thought process of comparing a one off product to a person or an instance, rather in the sense of a metaphor, and say "that person is rather like a unique product that is only manufactured once" or "that experience was rather like a unique product that is only manufactured once". But what is clear is that NO-ONE DID THIS for many years.

        8. It took years for the expression in its technical sense to move out from "one off job" or similar into more common usage so that other things were referred to as one offs. That is the fact and it can be seen from all kinds of searches and is confirmed by the Oxford English Dictionary.

        9. I have said and repeat that it is totally unrealistic to think that someone writing a diary could have gone through such a thought process in 1888 especially as even the expression "one off job" did not exist then. There is absolutely no evidence or reason to think that "one off" bore any meaning for anyone, even engineers, at that stage to mean unique.

        10. In 1888 no-one would have understood what "one off instance" meant. Even to mean "one", the expression "one off" was not part of the English language as normal people used it and, even when an element of unique was added to it, it remained outside of common usage for many years. That is why we do not find it in any literature outside of technical journals until after the Second World War. It just simply was not used and could not have been used in a diary in 1888.

        CONCLUSION

        The strategy that seems to be adopted at the moment by some is to say, well if "one off job" or "one off standpoint" (and think about this - have you ever heard the expression "one off standpoint" before in your life?) was being referred to in the early twentieth century in engineering journals then well, hey, it's only 12 years before 1900 to 1888 and abracadabra as if by magic the expression "one off instance" could surely have been written by someone. It doesn't seem to matter that there is not one single example from the nineteenth century of anyone using "one off" in any form of expression to mean unique or special let alone anything similar to "one off instance".

        Why is that? Just think about it. It's because it wasn't part of the English language.

        No-one would have formulated the expression and, more importantly, no-one would have understood it. If no-one understood it then no-one would have written it. I include engineers in this. For there is no evidence of even "one off job" being around in the nineteenth century. And it is still a long way from "one off job" to "one off instance".
        Last edited by David Orsam; 12-21-2016, 03:58 PM.

        Comment


        • The Oxford English Dictionary started to be compiled in 1884 so it has been monitoring the English language for over 130 years. Here is the complete set of examples of 'one off' provided by the current OED:

          1934 Proc. Inst. Brit. Foundrymen 26 552 "A splendid one-off pattern can be swept up in very little time".

          1947 Jrnl. Royal Aeronaut. Soc. 51 308/1 "It is possible to reproduce full-scale layouts directly on to the material to be worked..thus cutting out what was originally the factor which absorbed the most production time in the freehand manufacture of ‘one offs’."

          1954 Archit. Rev. 116 411/2 "Hills built the first part of Cheshunt as a ‘one off’ job, with no guarantees of further business, though of course it was intended to be the first of a line."

          1958 Listener 25 Sept. 458/2 "Both the estates of the speculative ‘rush’ builders and the architectural one-offs are unable to keep pace with the demand [for new houses]."

          1968 Sunday Times 29 Sept. 25 "Jenkins has already made a crude stab at a wealth tax with his special charge on investment incomes... But this was a one-off effort."

          1973 Daily Tel. 22 Oct. 12/4 "When Barry Took's Grub Street (BBC-2) was screened as a one-off..I rashly predicted that it could make a series."

          2002 Victorian Nov. (back cover), "You can make a one-off donation or give as many times as you want."

          2003 Washington Post (Home ed.) 12 Aug. 13/1 "Iraq is obviously pivotal to American national security. But it is a one-off, an unusual case that is unlikely to recur."

          This doesn't, of course, include every mention, it is only a selection, but what it shows to me (and is confirmed by my own searches) is a development of the expression whereby it starts as a technical phrase used in the Proceedings of the Institute of Foundrymen, the Journal of the Royal Architectural Society and the Architectural Review during the 1930s, 40s and 50s before featuring in a mainstream publication (the Listener) in 1958 but there still in respect of a product (i.e. a building) with the first wider more general example, of a 'one off effort', being as late as 1968.

          I don't say this is exactly how it happened but it does reflect the reality of the evolution of the phrase.

          Comment


          • I am sure that I will regret posting again on this thread but this question has been bothering me and I would like to get other's opinions. Let's assume for the sake of argument that Maybrick was the Ripper and that the diary is legitimate. Wouldn't you think that he would have made some provision for it upon his death? Either disclose its (most likely hidden) location to a trusted friend with instructions that it be burned unread thus keeping his reputation intact or that it be turned over to the police as sort of a **** you. After all, the diary was indeed a "hot potato."

            c.d.

            Comment


            • I probably should have included the idea of keeping it so well hidden that no one would ever find it.

              c.d.

              Comment


              • I have no dog in this fight but will simply take on the role of devil's advocate. Are we to assume that there was an individual or individuals or even some organization that recorded every single person's utterances either spoken or written in order to determine first usage of a word or phrase?

                c.d.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by c.d. View Post
                  I am sure that I will regret posting again on this thread but this question has been bothering me and I would like to get other's opinions. Let's assume for the sake of argument that Maybrick was the Ripper and that the diary is legitimate. Wouldn't you think that he would have made some provision for it upon his death? Either disclose its (most likely hidden) location to a trusted friend with instructions that it be burned unread thus keeping his reputation intact or that it be turned over to the police as sort of a **** you. After all, the diary was indeed a "hot potato."

                  c.d.
                  Mebbes aye, mebbes no, c.d.. The truth is that you are knee-deep already in sticky speculation and incredulity. We can't possibly know anything from what our minds can only speculate on.

                  Ike
                  Last edited by Iconoclast; 12-22-2016, 02:39 AM.
                  Iconoclast

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                    I don't say this is exactly how it happened but it does reflect the reality of the evolution of the phrase.
                    I am unsure to which other forum you refer (I tend to hang around only this street corner most nights - I find the lighting better here) but it is hard to argue with your case David Orsam (for now). It seems to me well made. I wouldn't suggest for a moment that it is an incontrovertible fact but it is certainly an incontrovertible conundrum/problem for the few of us who believe the journal to either be authentically James' or else a Victorian hoax.

                    Credit where credit is due in my book (so far unwritten, you'll be relieved to hear) - but only enough to justify the analysis so far provided. It's definitely, incontrovertibly not game over just yet and the slightly-larger-than-average lady has barely even arrived at the auditorium yet regarding the Maybrick journal.

                    Good effort though ...

                    Ike
                    Iconoclast

                    Comment


                    • Whatever came of the watch - was that proven to be a hoax? I always felt that it added weight to the Diary, but the official research camp seemed to distance themselves from it. I guess the problem is that although the watch is undoubtedly old enough to have been Sir Jim's, nobody could prove when the scratches were made. IIRC not only did it have far better provenance than the Diary, it also passed initial scientific tests, AND the signature matched that of Maybrick's wedding certificate and will.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
                        Whatever came of the watch - was that proven to be a hoax? I always felt that it added weight to the Diary, but the official research camp seemed to distance themselves from it. I guess the problem is that although the watch is undoubtedly old enough to have been Sir Jim's, nobody could prove when the scratches were made. IIRC not only did it have far better provenance than the Diary, it also passed initial scientific tests, AND the signature matched that of Maybrick's wedding certificate and will.
                        Hi StevenOwl,

                        The watch is rarely talked about, it is true. And yet you make (or hint at) a very good point. The scratches inside the watch have been dated to many tens of years old, and the Maybrick signature appears 'authentic'. It is just another factor in this complex, and utterly baffling case. If the watch appears to be genuine and can be dated back many tens of years (before 1992/3 obviously) and the journal is a modern hoax, what does that suggest? That the watch is authentic and the journal hoax was inspired in the late 1980s/early 1990s by it?

                        Fascinating thought (though pure speculation, of course!).

                        Ike
                        Iconoclast

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
                          Hi StevenOwl,

                          The watch is rarely talked about, it is true. And yet you make (or hint at) a very good point. The scratches inside the watch have been dated to many tens of years old, and the Maybrick signature appears 'authentic'. It is just another factor in this complex, and utterly baffling case. If the watch appears to be genuine and can be dated back many tens of years (before 1992/3 obviously) and the journal is a modern hoax, what does that suggest? That the watch is authentic and the journal hoax was inspired in the late 1980s/early 1990s by it?

                          Fascinating thought (though pure speculation, of course!).

                          Ike
                          And let's not forget that Albert Johnson paid £400 for the scientific testing himself, despite the Diary publishers offering to do so in return for a stake in it. Not the actions of a man who suspected that the test results would prove his watch to be a hoax. So we know that Johnson had owned the watch for 2 years prior the Diary coming to light, and that his actions do not point towards him being a hoaxer. We also know that the watch had been in the family of the jewellers who sold it to AJ for at least 15 years. I find it highly improbable that they made the scratches. So we have a watch that's claiming to be JM's, and is claiming that JM was JTR, and it's either genuine, or hoaxed sometime prior to 1976. Hmmm......

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                            Thank you Caligo, that is interesting.

                            Perhaps you can tell me this. If we replace the word "ticket" in Barrett's statement with the word "receipt", is it then in accord with the system you are describing? Hence:

                            "At this stage I was given a receipt on which was marked the item number and the price I had bid. I then had to hand this receipt over to the Office and I paid £50. The receipt was stamped.....I then returned to the Auction Room with my stamped receipt and handed it over to an assistant, a young man, who gave me the Lot I had purchased."

                            I've deleted from this the bit about him giving a false name when he paid his money (which I assume is inconsistent with what you are saying due to the registration system) but would the above section be roughly correct?
                            Hi David,

                            The above is #1574. Is this one of the posts you wished me to address? Beyond all the references to Outhwaite and Litherland in Ripper Diary, which you said you had later re-read, I'm not sure what you wanted me to say? Wasn't Caligo talking generally about auction houses in the north west, rather than O&L specifically?

                            The bottom line is that the details given by Mike were not recognised or accepted by O&L on any occasion that researchers have spoken directly with members of staff there.

                            No doubt you'd have been happier to see a written statement from the good people at O&L giving chapter and verse, but there seems little reason to believe they knew less about their own business and operating systems than Mike did, or that they were lying. And none of their customers from the late 80s/early 90s has come forward as far as I am aware to dispute O&L's version or confirm Mike's.

                            If you could clarify what it is you are still unhappy about I'll try to address that more specifically.

                            Love,

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


                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
                              And let's not forget that Albert Johnson paid £400 for the scientific testing himself......
                              Indeed, indeed. I believe that Albert was offered something in the region of $40,000 for the watch from an Amercian collector, and then somewhat less for a part share, both of which he declined. This seems extraordinary and does strongly suggest that he was of the opinion that it was not a hoaxed artifact.

                              Baffling, baffling, baffling ...

                              Ike
                              Iconoclast

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                                You know what, I've gone one-off piste and read one of Pierre's surreal threads about providing us all with a GSG-themed early Xmas present, and I have to admit to actually laughing out loud at a couple of David Orsam's retorts.

                                Doesn't happen to me often (unless I'm reading my own), so thought I'd put it out there that David Orsam may actually be a funny guy. Mebbes aye, mebbes no.

                                Ike
                                Iconoclast

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