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  • #61
    Originally posted by The Baron View Post
    From Urbandictionary

    bumbling buffoon

    A bumbling buffoon is someone who wakes up in the morning and bumbles around not having any direction whatsoever. He needs to do many unimportant things like take the trash across the property and poop. And he takes about three hours to do it. A bumbling buffoon takes forever to do anything. It takes him twenty minutes just to pay for a parking meter because he has to search through his car for change when he could just use his debit card. He makes everyone wait around for him because he thinks that his mission is priority when we're all just waiting for him to get it together so we can have our pancakes and go already




    The hoaxer used this phrase while talking about Hopper

    I have him down as a bumbling buffoon


    I doubt anyone in 1889 will understand the meaning.


    The Baron
    I ran the phrase "Bumbling Buffoon" through the British newspaper archives. The earliest appearance was on 18 August 1973.

    I also ran it through the Google Books database. No appearance between 1600-1950. The earliest I can find the phrase being used was in a film review in Cosmopolitan in 1958; after that, it made its way fairly rapidly into popular culture. It seems to have been commonly used to describe antics of the Red Skelton or Mr. Magoo variety.

    Of course, given enough time, I'm sure Robert Smith or Shirley Harrison or someone else will trace the phrase to an obscure manuscript written in some monastery in Outer Mongolia in the early 19th Century, thus preserving the Diary's integrity.
    Last edited by rjpalmer; 08-24-2020, 03:47 PM.

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    • #62
      An editorial in Time Magazine in 1960 also describes Khrushchev being called a 'Bumbling Buffoon.' Unless someone can show me otherwise, I think the phrase gained popularity in America during the mid-to-late 1950s.

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      • #63
        Well, I poked around a bit further and found an earlier use of 'bumbling buffoon.' Interestingly enough, it was in another film review, this time on 13 May 1949. The phrase has a sort of Looney Tunes or Bugs Bunny feel to it. So maybe it can be pushed back to the 1940s?

        Of course, all the usual suspects will argue that phrase had a long verbal life before it made its way into print, but it's a pretty lame argument. The phrase is so evocative and humorous that I doubt that --once heard--it would have taken long before a newsman picked it up and used it.

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        • #64
          The ngram for Bumbling buffoon:
          Click image for larger version

Name:	bumblingbuffoon.jpg
Views:	244
Size:	48.1 KB
ID:	740228

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          • #65
            Incidentally, I missed “I have him down as” on my first pass through- when did having someone down begin to mean to see through them, to characterize accurately?

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            • #66
              I have checked "Have him down as" and there was some examples before 1900 but not very commen



              The Baron

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              • #67
                Originally posted by The Baron View Post
                I have checked "Have him down as" and there was some examples before 1900 but not very commen



                The Baron
                That's the thing. "Have him down as" might be uncommon, but it's there. "One off" is abundant, but in a different context (consistently it has to be said). But "bumbling buffoon" genuinely does not appear in any context at all pre mid 20th century, so that's harder to reconcile. Both words were in use, with the same meaning, but apparently never together. I'm reluctant to say it's a provable anachronism, because let's face it, we're not a collective of language scholars and further research is needed. But it's an interesting find no less. I'll be interested to see how this develops.
                Thems the Vagaries.....

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

                  That's the thing. "Have him down as" might be uncommon, but it's there. "One off" is abundant, but in a different context (consistently it has to be said). But "bumbling buffoon" genuinely does not appear in any context at all pre mid 20th century, so that's harder to reconcile. Both words were in use, with the same meaning, but apparently never together. I'm reluctant to say it's a provable anachronism, because let's face it, we're not a collective of language scholars and further research is needed. But it's an interesting find no less. I'll be interested to see how this develops.

                  Exactly, thats why I wanted I separated thread for it.


                  I would like to have this post of you there too.


                  Thanks.

                  The Baron

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                  • #69
                    In all likelihood, it might need it.
                    Thems the Vagaries.....

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                    • #70
                      Being curious, I wasted much of my lunch hour yesterday, digging through more databases. I still can't find any example in print earlier than May 1949, when a review of the Bing Crosby film A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court describes Cedric Hardwicke's rendition of King Arthur as a "bumbling buffoon."

                      A month later, June 1949, a book review of George Orwell's novel, 1984, dismisses Benito Mussolini as a 'bumbling buffoon' compared to the evil and omnipotent Big Brother.

                      It soon gains momentum, as shown in Kattrup's ngram.

                      I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the phrase originated on celluloid or during a radio broadcast. Like an 'absent-minded professor' or 'an old battle-axe' or 'the girl next door,' its early use seems to refer to a stock character, as if the phrase originated somewhere in the entertainment industry.

                      Had it been in use in the 1880s, or 1890s, or even the 1920s, you'd think it would have turned up in print before 1949.

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                      • #71
                        Nice shout Baron.
                        I can’t find an early example of it in the newspaper archives either.
                        The phrase seems to become more prolific in the 1980s-90s usually to describe fictional characters, like Mr Bean for example.
                        Last edited by Yabs; 08-25-2020, 06:51 PM.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                          Being curious, I wasted much of my lunch hour yesterday, digging through more databases. I still can't find any example in print earlier than May 1949, when a review of the Bing Crosby film A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court describes Cedric Hardwicke's rendition of King Arthur as a "bumbling buffoon."

                          A month later, June 1949, a book review of George Orwell's novel, 1984, dismisses Benito Mussolini as a 'bumbling buffoon' compared to the evil and omnipotent Big Brother.

                          It soon gains momentum, as shown in Kattrup's ngram.

                          I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the phrase originated on celluloid or during a radio broadcast. Like an 'absent-minded professor' or 'an old battle-axe' or 'the girl next door,' its early use seems to refer to a stock character, as if the phrase originated somewhere in the entertainment industry.

                          Had it been in use in the 1880s, or 1890s, or even the 1920s, you'd think it would have turned up in print before 1949.
                          Lunch hour RJ? Is that when the nurses dish out the shaped puree?

                          Girl next door is a good example, it seems to date to the cinema era, worth some exploration. " Bumbling" as in fool, and "buffoon" as in , well, buffoon, are really common terms, well established. But, (and that's all italic and underlined) not together. That's key here, every other anachronism is disputed based on interpretations of what was printed at the time. We could do the same here, well, we can with the two words taken independently, they weren't uncommon, but not in sequence. Would have the term have been understandable to an LVP reader / writer? Not inconceivable. But is it backed up by the historical record? Not as of yet. So, regardless of whether it kills the diary (again), look at it as a lesson in the use of language. What is a relevant gap in the use and recording of language? Now, I get, if a term was in use but not physically recorded, how do you determine it wasn't in use prior to recording? Well, you don't. But that's not proof either, is it? We're just going off records.

                          But a good record could be out there (that's not from a bee keeping journal) waiting to shoot this down. Early days folks. Early days.
                          Thems the Vagaries.....

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Yabs View Post
                            Nice shout Baron.
                            I can’t find an early example of it in the newspaper archives either.
                            The phrase seems to become more prolific in the 1980s-90s usually to describe fictional characters, like Mr Bean for example.

                            Thanks.

                            Indeed, at the time the hoaxer wrote it, he hadn't the means and abilities to dig through millions and billions of words and phrases like we have today.


                            Actually, even without all of this, by reading the scrapbook you will easily notice it cannot be victorian.



                            The Baron

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

                              Lunch hour RJ? Is that when the nurses dish out the shaped puree?
                              After the last incident they don't bother to shape it anymore; they just slap it on the rubber plate with a spatula. Then it's time for meds.

                              Last edited by rjpalmer; 08-26-2020, 12:38 AM.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

                                Lunch hour RJ? Is that when the nurses dish out the shaped puree?

                                Girl next door is a good example, it seems to date to the cinema era, worth some exploration. " Bumbling" as in fool, and "buffoon" as in , well, buffoon, are really common terms, well established. But, (and that's all italic and underlined) not together. That's key here, every other anachronism is disputed based on interpretations of what was printed at the time. We could do the same here, well, we can with the two words taken independently, they weren't uncommon, but not in sequence. Would have the term have been understandable to an LVP reader / writer? Not inconceivable. But is it backed up by the historical record? Not as of yet. So, regardless of whether it kills the diary (again), look at it as a lesson in the use of language. What is a relevant gap in the use and recording of language? Now, I get, if a term was in use but not physically recorded, how do you determine it wasn't in use prior to recording? Well, you don't. But that's not proof either, is it? We're just going off records.

                                But a good record could be out there (that's not from a bee keeping journal) waiting to shoot this down. Early days folks. Early days.
                                Hi Al,

                                I wondered if there could have been a 'bumbling buffoon' alongside the 'double event' to be found within the pages of The Diary of a Nobody, first appearing in Punch in 1888, but this was all I came up with just now. Close, but definitely no cigar:

                                https://bluecrowx.wordpress.com/2010...y-of-a-nobody/

                                'The protagonist – Mr.Pooter, is a bumbling buffoon caught between an aspiration to the higher rungs of society, an inconsiderate circle of friends and family, and complete with the utter inability to grapple with any fashionable trends.'


                                'A clumsy man not noticing it, had his foot on it for ever so long before he discovered it. ... He marched twice round the room like a buffoon...'

                                'Bumbling
                                Charles Pooter's memoir of timeless suburban angst The Diary of a Nobody (1892) remains remarkably modern and amusing even a century after it ...'

                                'In the bumbling, absurd, yet ultimately endearing character of Pooter, the Grossmith brothers created a wonderful portrait of the class system and the inherent ...'

                                'But for those who've read George Grossmith's novel, the fictional diary entries of the bumbling social-climber serialised by Punch in 1888, ...'

                                'Buy The Diary of a Nobody (Penguin Classics) New Ed by Grossmith, George, ... In the bumbling, absurd, yet ultimately endearing character of Pooter, the ...'


                                In my book Beer and Skittles, from 1977, I recently read the following reference, in the context of London gin-palaces:

                                'The original customers must have been people like Lupin Pooter, the alarmingly modern son in The Diary of a Nobody.'


                                The interesting thing I learned about the Grossmith brothers some years ago is that they were into Victorian hoaxes and moved in the same social circle as the Maybrick brothers in London. George - Gee Gee - spent his honeymoon in Aigburth, Liverpool, of all places, while Weedon - Wee Gee - knew George Sims personally through their shared interest in crimes and criminals, and Melville Macnaghten had a portrait of Weedon, playing Jack Sheppard, hanging on the wall of his office.

                                Yes I know, I'm still clutching at silly straws, but I do find such parallels intriguing, even if there is no possible connection with the diary of the nobody who was James Maybrick until his death turned him into a somebody - a macabre cause celebre.

                                Love,

                                Caz
                                X
                                Last edited by caz; 08-26-2020, 01:23 PM.
                                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


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