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One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

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  • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post


    I suspect its because you're looking on the wrong side of the pond, Gary.

    If you punch the phrase into the British newspaper archive you get only 22 immediate and obvious hits, none earlier than 1971.

    But if you punch the phrase into a primarily American newspaper archive (newspapers.com) you get 1,084 immediate hits, from 1949 onward, including dozens upon dozens of examples in television reviews, movie reviews, editorials, and even crosswords puzzles, which suggests that by now this alliterative insult had widely disseminated into mainstream culture.

    Surely you aren't suggesting that all these writers independently came up with the phrase? (And as previously noted, it can also be found in modern film dialogue and music lyrics--also in America).

    Meanwhile, it's now on the British side of the pond. As we can see in the following bit from the Daily Mail.

    Click image for larger version Name:	news media.JPG Views:	0 Size:	30.2 KB ID:	740703

    I am convinced the phrase was popularized by American tv/radio, possibly a specific show, but one I have yet to identify.

    Good catch by The Baron.

    Any post-1949 Yanks among the suspects? Anne Barrett spent time in Oz, but I found ZERO results for "bumbling buffoon" in Paper's Past, an archive for newspapers in the Land Down Under.
    But in a Trove you find a few, the earliest being 1950
    G U T

    There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by GUT View Post

      But in a Trove you find a few, the earliest being 1950
      Which ties in perfectly with the other results. Why is that?

      The alliterative B-something Buffoon has been well and truly proved, not an uncommon term, and not at all a mental leap of faith to suggest that bumbling buffoon was an understandable saying.

      So what about "bumbling" itself. How is that used? Does it appear in alliterative phrases? Worth a look.

      ( Sorry GUT, I quoted you in then went off rambling)
      Thems the Vagaries.....

      Comment


      • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post


        I suspect its because you're looking on the wrong side of the pond, Gary.

        If you punch the phrase into the British newspaper archive you get only 22 immediate and obvious hits, none earlier than 1971.

        But if you punch the phrase into a primarily American newspaper archive (newspapers.com) you get 1,084 immediate hits, from 1949 onward, including dozens upon dozens of examples in television reviews, movie reviews, editorials, and even crosswords puzzles, which suggests that by now this alliterative insult had widely disseminated into mainstream culture.

        Surely you aren't suggesting that all these writers independently came up with the phrase? (And as previously noted, it can also be found in modern film dialogue and music lyrics--also in America).

        Meanwhile, it's now on the British side of the pond. As we can see in the following bit from the Daily Mail.

        Click image for larger version Name:	news media.JPG Views:	0 Size:	30.2 KB ID:	740703

        I am convinced the phrase was popularized by American tv/radio, possibly a specific show, but one I have yet to identify.

        Good catch by The Baron.

        Any post-1949 Yanks among the suspects? Anne Barrett spent time in Oz, but I found ZERO results for "bumbling buffoon" in Paper's Past, an archive for newspapers in the Land Down Under.
        Let's skip over the fact Maybrick lived in America for a number of years, and the fact this phrase could well have existed in general parlance outside of printed media long before it made it's way to more mainstream media usage. The concept of placing a B word adjective in front of the word Buffoon is hardly the works of Shakespeare. The fact it shows popualarity growth from the 1940's in the printed media just goes to show it obviously came from somewhere. If you can categorically pin down with 100% accuracy that the combination of Bumbling Buffoon first appeared on one specific US TV or Radio show then that would be truly impressive research.
        "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
        - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

        Comment


        • Originally posted by erobitha View Post

          Let's skip over the fact Maybrick lived in America for a number of years, and the fact this phrase could well have existed in general parlance outside of printed media long before it made it's way to more mainstream media usage. The concept of placing a B word adjective in front of the word Buffoon is hardly the works of Shakespeare. The fact it shows popualarity growth from the 1940's in the printed media just goes to show it obviously came from somewhere. If you can categorically pin down with 100% accuracy that the combination of Bumbling Buffoon first appeared on one specific US TV or Radio show then that would be truly impressive research.
          Your spot on there Ero, and that's really the point. If it was popularized from the 40's, from a source, why isn't that source discoverable? Maybe someone can pin it down, 100%, just because we amateurs haven't found it doesn't mean it's not out there. But it's proving elusive so far, and that's an interesting point. Even taking into account Maybricks American connection, why is it not until mid 20th century it appears in recorded print?

          The Shakespeare argument always amused me, if Bill invented so many turns of phrase, how did his audience understand what he was saying? (That's an argument that stands today actually. He's not funny.) So, in all fairness, if someone is "the first" to transcribe a phrase, they can't really be the first to use it, can they?

          So, yes, the term "bumbling buffoon", specifically, must have had some use prior to mid 20th century. But where? In what context? Is Jim's diary yet again the first documented example?

          It's like "Dear Boss", being noted at the time as an Americanism.

          I'd urge all parties to look at this as an exploration of language. Never mind the Diaries provenance for now.
          Thems the Vagaries.....

          Comment


          • This is from ‘Truth’ of 11th April, 1889.

            Are we to believe that it is ‘impossible’ that someone in a private diary could have come up with ‘bumbling buffoon’? Surely not.


            Comment


            • A little comic relief.


              Click image for larger version

Name:	Blondie.JPG
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ID:	740715

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              • Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post
                So, yes, the term "bumbling buffoon", specifically, must have had some use prior to mid 20th century.
                I find this increasingly difficult to accept.

                The 1930s were the golden age of screwball comedies in America. Attacking your political rival was an art form during the 1920s and 30s. Comic strips have been in the American press since the turn of the 20th Century.

                Yet not a single example comes up? Yet there's an explosion after the 1950s, but only in America?

                It's not difficult to sense which direction the wind is blowing.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                  This is from ‘Truth’ of 11th April, 1889.

                  Are we to believe that it is ‘impossible’ that someone in a private diary could have come up with ‘bumbling buffoon’? Surely not.

                  No, not at all Gary, it's totally plausible. It's just odd that no written record exists prior to the 20th century. It's a curio. It's worth exploring in that sense.

                  Really, will it sway diary defenders / deniers / modern hoaxers / old hoaxers? Hell no. But we all claim to love history, so let's look at it purely as a historical anomaly.

                  (Maybe I shouldn't have told The Baron to pull his head out of Orsam's ass. This is what happens.)
                  Thems the Vagaries.....

                  Comment


                  • From what I'm seeing, I believe the phrase began life as "bungling buffoon" around World War One (but wasn't in very wide use) and became bastardized into "bumbling buffoon" around World War 2, or shortly thereafter.

                    Until someone can show me otherwise.

                    The phase "bungling buffoon" actually turns up more frequently in digitized British papers than "bumbling buffoon" (roughly 80 times compared to 20 times) but not until the 1980s.

                    Tony Devereux was a newspaper compositor, by the way. Bongo Barrett the Bumbling Buffoon?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                      From what I'm seeing, I believe the phrase began life as "bungling buffoon" around World War One (but wasn't in very wide use) and became bastardized into "bumbling buffoon" around World War 2, or shortly thereafter.

                      Until someone can show me otherwise.

                      The phase "bungling buffoon" actually turns up more frequently in digitized British papers than "bumbling buffoon" (roughly 80 times compared to 20 times) but not until the 1980s.

                      Tony Devereux was a newspaper compositor, by the way. Bongo Barrett the Bumbling Buffoon?
                      “Mumbling buffoon” has a longer pedigree, going back to the 1830s at least.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                        “Mumbling buffoon” has a longer pedigree, going back to the 1830s at least.
                        When The Baron pointed this out, I thought it was odd that such a phrase was unrecorded. Despite the parallels, and the subsequent findings of so many closely related terms, that one, specifically, doesn't appear. I don't doubt at all that the term "bumbling buffoon" was understood at the time. But why is it so elusive? That's the point of interest.
                        Thems the Vagaries.....

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

                          When The Baron pointed this out, I thought it was odd that such a phrase was unrecorded. Despite the parallels, and the subsequent findings of so many closely related terms, that one, specifically, doesn't appear. I don't doubt at all that the term "bumbling buffoon" was understood at the time. But why is it so elusive? That's the point of interest.
                          It becomes a point of interest because we do not understand the reason for its absence from the written record. At least some of us admit we don’t.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                            It becomes a point of interest because we do not understand the reason for its absence from the written record. At least some of us admit we don’t.
                            Can't say I disagree Gary. We don't know why it's absent. It just is so far.
                            Thems the Vagaries.....

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                              “Mumbling buffoon” has a longer pedigree, going back to the 1830s at least.
                              It's a "one off," though, isn't it? Or, rather, a two off?

                              I'm seeing 16 hits for it in the 19th Century, at British Newspaper archive, but it's just the same news article from August 1835, repeated 16 times.

                              It then only appears one other time--in the 1920s--and from the context it appears to be two independent inventions with no real sense of any widespread usage.

                              One that seems to have something of a toe-hold is "blundering buffoon" which appears, though not with great frequency, from 1818 to modern times.

                              I'm switching my end of this conversation to the ngrams thread, because I think insults (and bumbling buffoon is a recognizable insult) have their own linguistic 'algebra.' They are like slang; they are trendy and variants, or even originals, sometimes pop-up out of nowhere.






                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                                It's a "one off," though, isn't it? Or, rather, a two off?

                                I'm seeing 16 hits for it in the 19th Century, at British Newspaper archive, but it's just the same news article from August 1835, repeated 16 times.

                                It then only appears one other time--in the 1920s--and from the context it appears to be two independent inventions with no real sense of any widespread usage.

                                One that seems to have something of a toe-hold is "blundering buffoon" which appears, though not with great frequency, from 1818 to modern times.

                                I'm switching my end of this conversation to the ngrams thread, because I think insults (and bumbling buffoon is a recognizable insult) have their own linguistic 'algebra.' They are like slang; they are trendy and variants, or even originals, sometimes pop-up out of nowhere.





                                Really a three-off if you include mumbling buffoonery. Two examples in 1835 and then one in 1928. And in the intervening 93 years, do we imagine it being impossible for someone to have used it in conversation or in a written form that is impervious to googling?

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