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  • Originally posted by The Baron View Post
    "The diary saga needn't even be a part of Ripper World unless you let it."

    True, it has been shown beyond any reasonable doubt that this scrapbook is a hoax, and a cheap one at that, but they let it be a part of a forum discussing the Ripper case, and you may need to accept that.
    The person who started this forum years ago, Stephen Ryder, did so because of the Maybrick Diary. If not for the Diary, none of us would be posting here.


    • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
      Gary -- surely you can appreciate the reasons why academics might want to find a method for objectively analyzing language, as opposed to 'feel,' which will always live under the taint of 'subjectivity'?

      Dr. Kate Flint, a lecturer in Victorian literature, felt the diary's language was modern. I think she's right, of course, and apparently so do you, but one example she used in arguing for modernity was the phrase 'gathering momentum.'

      Now just imagine if along came a guy named Gary, tinkering with an n-gram--or a newspaper archive--who discovered rather quickly that the phrase 'gathering momentum' was actually in fairly wide use in the Victorian era?

      How well would Dr. Flint's subjective 'feel' have held up against the cold hard realities of an objective analysis?

      Not very well. And I write this even though I agree with Flint's 'sense' or 'feel.'

      Computers don't have feelings. At least not yet. And, of course, you yourself have spent time tinkering in the cold harsh world of newspaper archives in an attempt to trip up the 'anti-diarists.'
      I get the feeling I may be walking into a trap here but - oh well, what the hell?

      It was the same Dr Kate Flint, I presume, who confidently stated that the expression 'to top oneself', meaning to commit suicide by hanging, did not exist in print before 1958. Now I appreciate this had nothing to do with her subjective 'feel', but was instead a simple failure to find an earlier instance, which led her to conclude there wasn't one.

      Much to RJ's chagrin, it was our very own Gary, who was 'tinkering' in another attempt to trip up the 'anti-diarists', when he happened upon the expression with this precise meaning in a newspaper dating back to the 1870s, eight decades earlier than Kate's earliest. Had Gary left well alone and not meddled, RJ would still be able to wheel out Kate and her 1958 date, and from where I'm sitting, this looks to me like the real reason why RJ is picking a fight with him. But this was no 'attempt' to trip anyone up. How narrow and self-serving must one's field of vision be to see it this way, when all Gary did was to prove that one of the go-to academics RJ and his ilk had once relied on, regarding the diary's use of language, had got their facts wrong? Why would anyone with an ounce of objectivity or integrity in their bones object to what Gary is doing, and have nothing but contempt for the practice, if it sets a bogus record straight?

      Kate's mistake might or might not have had something to do with the fact that her expertise is/was in Victorian literature, not language and its evolution from that era. Was she looking in all the right places? But this is ironic in itself, given that nobody at either end of the great diary divide would appear to consider Maybrick's musings to be a work of literature, Victorian or otherwise. Could her subjective 'feel' for the language of the diary also have let her down because her field was the study of literature, of which the diary is hardly a typical example?

      I always feel that academics stray from what they do best at their peril, and have only themselves to blame if a Gary comes along and shows them the error of their strays.

      You know how this ends, don't you?

      If Dr Kate Flint can be so wrong once, or twice... can all guess the rest.


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