[Ads-l] "little green men"; "flying saucer"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jun 20 10:23:38 EDT 2018


I wonder if she (presumably de Havilland herself, not the character) wasn’t stressing “green” contrastively but consciously or not connecting the alien green men to the mythical and not unscary “Green Man” I think I first encountered in an eponymous Kingsley Amis novel but has a long and diverse lineage:

http://www.greenmanenigma.com/history.html
https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/The-Green-Man/

At least in the audio I recall of the Amis book, the Green Man is pronounced with compound (fore-) stress, unlike the way I’ve always heard for the alien little green men.

LH


> On Jun 20, 2018, at 7:31 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> 1937 Casey Robinson & Maurice Hanline _It's Love I'm After_ (film):  I have
> little _green_ men jumping around in my head.
> 
> Olivia de Havilland loq. She has a headache.
> 
> Stress on "green" is unique in my experience.
> 
> JL
> 
> On Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 8:28 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: "little green men"; "flying saucer"
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> -------------------
>> 
>> Leprechauns rather than aliens from outer space?
>> On Sep 12, 2014 8:07 PM, "Jonathan Lighter" <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> 
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: "little green men"; "flying saucer"
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> -------------------
>>> 
>>> Much older than it seemed as a vision of the DTs or insanity:
>>> 
>>> 1895 _St. Louis Republic_ (Feb. 17) III 18:
>>> I want my medicine - see? And she won't give it to me. ...Look at the
>>> little green men on the gas fixtures! See the toads hopping about the
>>> floor.
>>> 
>>> JL
>>> 
>>> On Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 9:05 PM, Jonathan Lighter <
>> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Bloch's "LGM" seem more like the hallucinatory sort than the kind from
>>>> space.
>>>> 
>>>> JL
>>>> 
>>>> On Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 7:13 PM, George Thompson
>>>> <george.thompson at nyu.edu> wrote:
>>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>> -----------------------
>>>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>>> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
>>>>> Subject:      Re: "little green men"; "flying saucer"
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> -------------------
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM, Jonathan Lighter <
>>>> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>>> OED has nothing before 1961. Tsk.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> GB affords numerous 19th C. British exx. referring to trolls, elves,
>>>>>> and the like.  The following U.S. cites show too that it was used to
>>>>>> refer to imaginary figures supposedly seen in delirium tremens.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> The 1948 is the earliest ex. that refers to denizens of outer space
>>>>>> and, by implication, spacemen in saucers. It suggests that still
>>>>>> earlier exx. may exist in comic books and pulp magazines.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 1945 _San Antonio Light_ (Aug. 5) 57 [NewspArch.]: Pink elephants
>> and
>>>>>> "little green men" are often seen around by those who hit the bottle
>>>>>> too often and too hard.
>>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> pink elephant n. *colloq.* a type of something extraordinary or
>>>> impossible,
>>>>> *spec.* a characteristic hallucination supposedly experienced by a
>>> drunk
>>>> or
>>>>> delirious person (usu. in *pl.*).
>>>>> 1900    *Blue Pencil
>>>>> Mag.<
>>>> http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:32445/view/Entry/144203?
>> rskey=3Dr8FNOz&=
>>>>> result=3D1&isAdvanced=3Dtrue>
>>>>> * Apr. 22/1   She don't stand for this booze business, and I'm
>> opposed
>>>> to i=
>>>>> t
>>>>> myself. D'ye see them pink elephants running up my pants legs?
>>>>> 1933    *Official World's Fair Weekly (Chicago)
>>>>> <
>>>> 
>>> http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:32445/view/Entry/144203?
>> rskey=3Dr8FNOz&resu=
>>>>> lt=3D1&isAdvanced=3Dtrue>
>>>>> *30 Sept. 25/3   Nightmares of the modern school are built around
>>> =91pink
>>>>> elephants=92 if we are to believe the song writers.
>>>>> 1984    M. Amis
>>>>> *Money<
>>>> http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:32445/view/Entry/144203?rskey=3Dr8FNO=
>>>>> z&result=3D1&isAdvanced=3Dtrue>
>>>>> * (BNC) (1985) 93   Goodney, in his white suit, suntan and sliding
>>> blond
>>>>> hair, stood out like a pink elephant.
>>>>> 
>>>>> "If h had won [on a bet] the sky would have been hung in rose pink
>>>> ribbons,
>>>>> canary birds would have been trilling in every bar room, and he would
>>>> have
>>>>> been steadily drunk until that epoch in all continued debauches when
>>> pink
>>>>> elephants begin to sail into the room through the open transom.
>>>>> National Police Gazette, November 22, 1879, p. 15 (per Proquest)
>>>>> 
>>>>> GAT
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM, Jonathan Lighter
>>>>> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>>> OED has nothing before 1961. Tsk.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> GB affords numerous 19th C. British exx. referring to trolls, elves,
>>>>>> and the like.  The following U.S. cites show too that it was used to
>>>>>> refer to imaginary figures supposedly seen in delirium tremens.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> The 1948 is the earliest ex. that refers to denizens of outer space
>>>>>> and, by implication, spacemen in saucers. It suggests that still
>>>>>> earlier exx. may exist in comic books and pulp magazines.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 1945 _San Antonio Light_ (Aug. 5) 57 [NewspArch.]: Pink elephants
>> and
>>>>>> "little green men" are often seen around by those who hit the bottle
>>>>>> too often and too hard.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> --
>>>>> George A. Thompson
>>>>> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre",
>> Northwestern
>>>> Univ=
>>>>> .
>>>>> Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.
>>>>> 
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> 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."
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> "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
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> "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


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