"evil twin"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Nov 25 01:51:45 UTC 2011

On Nov 24, 2011, at 12:23 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> The elderly will recall two or three "original Star Trek" episodes
> that played with the "evil twin" idea.
> The extra-elderly will recall Vera Miles at a bus station in the
> Twilight Zone in 1960. She is driven insane, then replaced by her evil
> twin from another dimension.
> In none of these stories, however, was the evil one a literal mortal
> twin born from the same womb. At least one was created accidentally.
> Shatner met up with his own evil twin in a recent Priceline
> commercial. Quotable: "You win *this* time, good twin!" Puff of smoke,
> exit.
> http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/evil-shatner-no-match-shatner-himself-12992
> JL

I was sure I remembered an episode in which Spock met up with *his* evil twin (again, alternate-universe-style, not same-womb-style), and evidently I did:

Apparently the goatee is the key for the genre.


> On Thu, Nov 24, 2011 at 9:33 AM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: "evil twin"
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Not an instance or a source, certainly, but an interesting analog of the concept, from Milton's _Areopagitica_ (1644):  "It was from out the rind of one apple tasted that the knowledge of good and evil, as two twins cleaving together, leaped forth into the world. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say of knowing good by evil."
>> --Charlie
>> ________________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM]
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 4:02 PM
>> Another vocabularian shocker.
>> No 19th C. GB hits on "evil twin" in the modern sense of the evil
>> complement of a good twin.
>> In fact, there's only one "evil twin" at all: an 1873 observation in
>> the _Phrenological Journal_ that alcohol and tobacco are evil twins of
>> each other.
>> The modern sense of "evil twin" might begin here:
>> 1908 Susan E. Blow _Educational Issues in the Kindergarten_  (N.Y.:
>> Appleton) 97: The typical hero, son of a god, one of twins....The evil
>> twin apprises us that man's imagination is haunted by his double
>> selfhood, and the struggle between him and his nobler brother
>> celebrates that holy war wherein the soul is at once hero and
>> betrayer....
>> [Kindergarten had become less sophisticated by the 1950s.]
>> 1913 T. Proctor Hall in _The Monist_ XXIII 98: If the creator of life
>> cannot overcome his evil twin, or cannot destroy Satan,
>> or cannot prevent "delusions of mortal mind," these causes of evil, he
>> is not omnipotent. If he can but will not, he is not good.
>> The world doesn't seem to have been much interested in "evil twins"
>> till the 1980s and later. There are 12,000 [!] GB hits in the 21st C.
>> JL
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list