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One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

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  • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
    Thanks, Simon. I appreciate the clarification.
    Not that I imagine it’s that important, but I don’t think there is any doubt that you were querying “one one” and “spreads mayhem” long before others piled in.
    Iconoclast

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Graham View Post
      I think that Orsam (and others) tended to ignore the fact that expressions can be in verbal use for long before they are first written down. For example, my grandfather used the expression 'top myself' when I was but a wee mite, and I can guarantee he'd never seen it in writing. Same with 'one off' - I am absolutely certain that this was in verbal use long before the 1930's.

      What I am uncomfortable about, when it comes to the Diary's claimed authenticity, is the infamous 'tin matchbox empty'. This, as far as I can recall, came from a list of the possessions of Eddowes' possessions compiled by the police, the original of which was not re-discovered until about 1984. I also recall that 'tin matchbox empty' was deliberately excised by the police from the published list of Eddowes possessions. However, whoever wrote the Diary was aware that there was an empty tin box found on Eddowes, and for my money that strongly suggests, at least to me, that the Diary was written some time after the mid-1980's. Unless, of course, its author really was the Ripper, which I just can't accept....honestly.

      No doubt I'll be shot down in flames, but what the hell.....

      Graham
      Hello Graham,

      Just thought that I’d say, as David’s no longer around, he wasn’t making the point just about the phrase ‘one off’ which he found in use in the records of an engineering firm (I can’t recall the name but it could have been something like Garscadden) from 1903. From memory (which is often faulty) I think that he accepted that it was unlikely that it was the first use of the phrase and so it would also have pre-dated 1903. David’s point though was the use of the phrase as a metaphor for something that happened only once (ie the context used in the diary) ; a unique occurrence. He was pointing out that the phrase ‘one off’ was used in isolation as a technical/engineering/industrial term but there are no examples of it being used in conversation or letter form outside of those fields. It’s only in much more recent times that it came into use as we have all probably used it. Therefore the phrase ‘one off instance’ in the diary is an anachronism. So unless David's point can be refuted then the diary is a modern forgery. I have to say that Robert Smith made an exceedingly poor effort at doing this in his recent book. To be honest I also have to question whether he could possibly have even believed his own explaination (to be as diplomatic as I can be.)

      Just thought that I’d clarify this. David’s not around to tell me off if I’ve made a bad job of it.
      Regards

      Herlock




      “ Herlock is the cleverest man that I’ve ever met.” - Stephen Hawking.
      “ I wish that I could have achieved half as much as Herlock.”- Neil Armstrong.
      “ What a voice Herlock has.” - Luciano Pavarotti.
      “ I wish that I could dump Harry for Herlock.” - Meghan Markle.
      “ I know that it’s not good to be jealous but I just can’t help it.” - John Holmes.

      Comment


      • That's a pretty good summary, Herlock. The use of one-off to refer to something abstract like an "instance" (or an occurrence, incident, happening, opportunity...) only happened in the 20th century. Before then, it was used in a technical sense to refer to - pardon pun - concrete things like bricks, plans, designs, and it continued to be used in this technical sense for quite some time; I remember my boss using the expression in that way in the early 2000s.
        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
          That's a pretty good summary, Herlock. The use of one-off to refer to something abstract like an "instance" (or an occurrence, incident, happening, opportunity...) only happened in the 20th century. Before then, it was used in a technical sense to refer to - pardon pun - concrete things like bricks, plans, designs, and it continued to be used in this technical sense for quite some time; I remember my boss using the expression in that way in the early 2000s.
          Cheers Gareth,

          I worked in industry for years where we had a Production Controller who, whenever we asked him “how many does the customer want?” he’d reply “he needs 20 off.”

          I knew what he meant of course, it was just an irritating habit!
          Regards

          Herlock




          “ Herlock is the cleverest man that I’ve ever met.” - Stephen Hawking.
          “ I wish that I could have achieved half as much as Herlock.”- Neil Armstrong.
          “ What a voice Herlock has.” - Luciano Pavarotti.
          “ I wish that I could dump Harry for Herlock.” - Meghan Markle.
          “ I know that it’s not good to be jealous but I just can’t help it.” - John Holmes.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
            Cheers Gareth,

            I worked in industry for years where we had a Production Controller who, whenever we asked him “how many does the customer want?” he’d reply “he needs 20 off.”

            I knew what he meant of course, it was just an irritating habit!
            That was precisely the way in which my boss used the term - "three off", "eight off", etc - and he'd write it down like that. To be honest, I'd never heard it used that way before, and assumed for years that he meant "of" but was spelling it incorrectly!
            Kind regards, Sam Flynn

            "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
              Cheers Gareth,

              I worked in industry for years where we had a Production Controller who, whenever we asked him “how many does the customer want?” he’d reply “he needs 20 off.”

              I knew what he meant of course, it was just an irritating habit!
              Not irritating at all - it means that the customer requires 20 items off a particular drawing, specification or order. Maybe you were never exposed to the boredom of a drawing office......

              The problem as I see it is that it is impossible to tell precisely when any particular phrase or terminology was originally used verbally prior to being committed to writing. You live in the Midlands, HS, so I'm sure you're aware of the black Country dialect, which even now can be impenetrable to an outsider, yet I don't think a truly comprehensive Black Country dictionary has been compiled. For example: do you know what a "cog-ayver" is?

              Graham
              .
              We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                Therefore the phrase ‘one off instance’ in the diary is an anachronism.
                Whilst most of us will doubtless have accepted Lord Orsam's point regarding the lack of supporting evidence for the use of a term such as "one off instance" until late in the 20th century, you absolutely cannot call this an anachronism. It is possible that the term could have pre-existed the 20th century in verbal usage and it is true - if perhaps less likely - that the term was used in 1888 or 1889 just by chance alone, or inadvertantly (as in "a one 'off instance'").

                But it cannot ever be an anachronism. That would be Shakespeare referring to 'cannon' in a play before cannon existed (which he did), or a hoaxer referring to 'Liverpool FC' in a journal supposedly written before 1892 (which he or she did not).
                So we take Orsam's point that "one off instance" is a genuine issue that needs to be considered but let's not raise its status to that of categorical certainty which an anachronism would require. When we do that and we leave such assertions unchallenged, they quickly become adopted by the chattering classes as proofs and they are oh-so hard to dispell once set in stone.
                Iconoclast

                Comment


                • "One-off instance" + "Top myself" + "Give her a call" + "Spreads mayhem" = Compound Anachronism

                  Whoever wrote the diary was familiar with using all four (and possibly one or two other) phrases which only came to be commonly used by ordinary people in the 20th century.
                  Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                  "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                  Comment


                  • I have never believed that James Maybrick wrote the 'Diary', nor that it came out of Battlecrease House or indeed that it had ever been in the place. So my little dig at the origin of phrases is really just to keep the pot bubbling a little.
                    Sam, can you categorically and without the possibility of any argument prove that the four phrases you quote are indeed anachronisms and were not in at least verbal use in the late 19th century? I don't think you can.

                    Ike, yes certainly The Bard used the word 'cannon', but cannon, meaning artillery, were in use long before old Will took up his pen. For example, they featured at The Battle Of Bosworth in 1485 and, I believe, at Crecy more than a century before. The word 'cannon' has its origins in the Italian for 'tube' or 'reed', and was used to describe guns since the early 14th century.

                    Never mind all this: what about 'tin matchbox empty' or 'empty tin matchbox', or the 'tin matchbox was empty'? Your thoughts please, gents?

                    Graham

                    PS: come on, HS, don't be shy: do you know what a 'cog-ayver' is?
                    We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Graham View Post
                      I have never believed that James Maybrick wrote the 'Diary', nor that it came out of Battlecrease House or indeed that it had ever been in the place. So my little dig at the origin of phrases is really just to keep the pot bubbling a little.
                      Sam, can you categorically and without the possibility of any argument prove that the four phrases you quote are indeed anachronisms and were not in at least verbal use in the late 19th century? I don't think you can.

                      Ike, yes certainly The Bard used the word 'cannon', but cannon, meaning artillery, were in use long before old Will took up his pen. For example, they featured at The Battle Of Bosworth in 1485 and, I believe, at Crecy more than a century before. The word 'cannon' has its origins in the Italian for 'tube' or 'reed', and was used to describe guns since the early 14th century.

                      Never mind all this: what about 'tin matchbox empty' or 'empty tin matchbox', or the 'tin matchbox was empty'? Your thoughts please, gents?

                      Graham

                      PS: come on, HS, don't be shy: do you know what a 'cog-ayver' is?
                      Tin matchbox empty should seal the deal for anyone. One off instance, and the others Sam cites, should put the final nails in the coffin, where this rotting corpse belongs.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                        "One-off instance" + "Top myself" + "Give her a call" + "Spreads mayhem" = Compound Anachronism

                        Whoever wrote the diary was familiar with using all four (and possibly one or two other) phrases which only came to be commonly used by ordinary people in the 20th century.
                        You should take 'top myself' (in print in the 1870s) and 'Give her a call' (numerous examples in print predating the 1880s) out of the list.

                        Then there were two.
                        Last edited by MrBarnett; 08-29-2018, 06:08 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Graham View Post
                          Not irritating at all - it means that the customer requires 20 items off a particular drawing, specification or order. Maybe you were never exposed to the boredom of a drawing office......

                          The problem as I see it is that it is impossible to tell precisely when any particular phrase or terminology was originally used verbally prior to being committed to writing. You live in the Midlands, HS, so I'm sure you're aware of the black Country dialect, which even now can be impenetrable to an outsider, yet I don't think a truly comprehensive Black Country dictionary has been compiled. For example: do you know what a "cog-ayver" is?

                          Graham
                          .
                          I don’t Graham but knowing the accent I’d take a guess that ‘ayver’ means ‘heaver.’ So I’ll have a stab at someone who turned the wheel that brought the lift up and down mine shafts?
                          Regards

                          Herlock




                          “ Herlock is the cleverest man that I’ve ever met.” - Stephen Hawking.
                          “ I wish that I could have achieved half as much as Herlock.”- Neil Armstrong.
                          “ What a voice Herlock has.” - Luciano Pavarotti.
                          “ I wish that I could dump Harry for Herlock.” - Meghan Markle.
                          “ I know that it’s not good to be jealous but I just can’t help it.” - John Holmes.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                            I don’t Graham but knowing the accent I’d take a guess that ‘ayver’ means ‘heaver.’ So I’ll have a stab at someone who turned the wheel that brought the lift up and down mine shafts?
                            Thot wor a bod guess, ma maert. In general everyday industrial use, the expression 'gie it a cog-ayver' meant to strike something very hard with a large hammer or a mallet. I think it stems from when large cogs, or gears, were common in heavy machinery, and to remove one from its splined shaft it had to be repeatedly whacked very hard (but in the precise place). Not heard much around Tipton these days, as modern Black Country youth have never 'ayved' anything in their lives, nor would they know what a cog is.

                            This is an expression I heard many times, when I worked in the foundry materials industry, and it always made me grin. I have never seen it in print, but that does not mean that it has never been in print; and this is the point I was trying to make vis-a-vis the Diary expressions.

                            I feel that some people have fallen into the trap of thinking that if an expression doesn't look old, then it can't be old. Yet consider some words and expressions found in Shakespeare and still in everyday usage: baited breath; brave new world; dead as a doornail; elbow room. And lots and lots more.

                            Graham
                            We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Graham View Post
                              Thot wor a bod guess, ma maert. In general everyday industrial use, the expression 'gie it a cog-ayver' meant to strike something very hard with a large hammer or a mallet. I think it stems from when large cogs, or gears, were common in heavy machinery, and to remove one from its splined shaft it had to be repeatedly whacked very hard (but in the precise place). Not heard much around Tipton these days, as modern Black Country youth have never 'ayved' anything in their lives, nor would they know what a cog is.

                              This is an expression I heard many times, when I worked in the foundry materials industry, and it always made me grin. I have never seen it in print, but that does not mean that it has never been in print; and this is the point I was trying to make vis-a-vis the Diary expressions.

                              I feel that some people have fallen into the trap of thinking that if an expression doesn't look old, then it can't be old. Yet consider some words and expressions found in Shakespeare and still in everyday usage: baited breath; brave new world; dead as a doornail; elbow room. And lots and lots more.

                              Graham
                              Cheers Graham

                              The only point that I’d make is that ‘cog-ayver’ is a colloquialism using words that don’t exist in any dictionary whereas the words: one, off and instance have existed for hundreds of years. And so, even omitting the word ‘instance’ we would expect to find a phrase like ‘one-off occaision’ or ‘one-off event’ or ‘one-off mistake’ or some such combination of ‘one-off’ plus another word (to give the meaning of a unique event) but none have been found, which appears to suggest that it wasn’t used in that context at the time.

                              I’m no expert in language though Graham. It would be interesting to hear from an expert in the evolution of language on the subject. To be honest, I’d have thought that if Robert Smith had wanted to rebut David’s rebuttal he might have looked to commissioning such an expert (rather than the weak effort that he came up) with as it would appear that this is the strongest point made so far for the diary being a forgery?
                              Regards

                              Herlock




                              “ Herlock is the cleverest man that I’ve ever met.” - Stephen Hawking.
                              “ I wish that I could have achieved half as much as Herlock.”- Neil Armstrong.
                              “ What a voice Herlock has.” - Luciano Pavarotti.
                              “ I wish that I could dump Harry for Herlock.” - Meghan Markle.
                              “ I know that it’s not good to be jealous but I just can’t help it.” - John Holmes.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                                You should take 'top myself' (in print in the 1870s) and 'Give her a call' (numerous examples in print predating the 1880s) out of the list.
                                It's not a list, but an equation, Gary - i.e. we need to take these in combination, not in isolation - and I reiterate the importance of bearing in mind when these phrases became commonly used by ordinary people. Some scumbag in the mid-19th century offering to "top himself" is one thing, but somebody purporting to be a late-19th century businessman being familiar with, and using, that phrase in an offhand manner is quite another.

                                Similarly, there was an explosion in the use of the phrase "give [someone] a call" in the 20th century with the advent of cheap, widespread telephony; a condition which did not apply in the late 19th. Of course, some people would occasionally "give someone a call" back then, but vastly more would be using the phrase on a daily (or even more frequent) basis, in the latter half of the 20th century, after phones had become ubiquitous.
                                Last edited by Sam Flynn; 08-29-2018, 10:25 AM.
                                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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