OT: More broadcast journalism

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 1 19:01:18 UTC 2010

Doesn't the OED's date distribution suggest that Hawthorne resurrected a
term that was effectively long obsolete?

One doubts that people who think of Obama as a possible Antichrist are
probably not influenced by 17th C. idioms, even if some of them once had to
read _The Scarlet Letter_.

To put things into perspective, there was some blog talk, apparently
beginning with the invasion of Iraq, that President Bush was the Antichrist,
but that seemed to me to be primarily jocular. Maybe it wasn't.

It does seem to be a fact, though, that Obama is the first President so
widely suspected of being a possible Antichrist, a domestic enemy, a foe of
the Constitution, a resident alien, etc., that the questions were
thought worth asking in a reputable national survey.

(Not even Lincoln got hit with "resident alien.")

On Sat, May 1, 2010 at 2:07 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: OT: More broadcast journalism
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 5/1/2010 11:02 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >How commonly, BTW, is/was the devil really referred to as the "Black Man"?
> >I get the feeling that it was rather rare and is more familiar today to
> >academics than to anyone else.
> I admit to being (or aspiring to be, or mistaken to be)
> academic.  But I think it was pretty common.  My encounter was in
> Hawthorne, "Feathertop: A Moralized Legend", and more notably in "The
> Scarlet Letter" (chapter 4).  Commentary on Hawthorne's use says it
> was common among the Puritans.  Wikipedia (s.v. "Men in Black") says
> "Even so, the term "the black man" was used for centuries in
> reference to the Devil,[citation needed]."  And Google Books for
> "black man" + devil + -Hawthorne -- In the first 10 hits, "The
> popular image of the black man in English drama, 1550-1688",
> "Painting the dark side: art and the Gothic imagination in ... ", and
> Howell's "Complete collection of state trials" all discuss the equation.
> The OED (1989) has eight citations, from [1591] and 1658, then 1851
> through 1886, and 1969.
> BTW, if I'd seen the name "Clarence Dupnik", I would have known it
> was not he I was trying to recall. :-)
>  Joel
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