going tonto (fwd)

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Mon May 20 02:49:04 UTC 2002

The poster I quoted, "E", writes:

> "minorly", and also without the pejorative expression "go tonto"
> [etymologically (I believe) like "go American-Indian" but apparently used
> like "go ape" etc.] (note that the radio/TV Tonto was *not* portrayed as
> hysterical or savage or undignified).

Since Tonto was, as this gentleman says, _not_ portrayed as hysterical,
savage or undignified, I must beg leave to doubt the derivation of this term
from the character Tonto on _The Lone Ranger._  I do have a dictionary of
British slang and terms not used by Americans, but it doesn't appear
there---remind me about it and I'll go looking in other such places to see
if I can find this expression.

For that matter, I'm not at all sure that current upper-class British people
would be _aware_ enough of Tonto and the Lone Ranger to use Tonto's name as
a slang term.  I'm sure that British kids were _exposed_ to the Lone Ranger,
but I don't think it was ever as big a thing in the UK as it was in North

-- Mark A. Mandel

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