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2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:28 pm UTC
by Navarr
Image

Title Text: POLITIFACT SAYS: MOSTLY WHATEVER

... Wasn't corn discovered in the Americas? Wouldn't this be false due to that alone?

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:38 pm UTC
by Reka
Corn is American, yes, but remember that the Pilgrims were coming to America more than a century after it was discovered. Some American foods spread in Europe in what seems like no time flat. (Squashes, for instance, basically took all of a decade.)

The word "corn" in historical records can be problematic, because it was used for all grains, not just maize. However, "corn meal" is unlikely to refer to anything other than maize.

Nevertheless, the claim seems dubious at best.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:42 pm UTC
by PM 2Ring
In British English, "corn" is a generic term for grain.
Oxford Living Dictionaries wrote:British
The chief cereal crop of a district, especially (in England) wheat or (in Scotland) oats.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:50 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
In modernish British English, corn is pretty much "wheat" (cornfield == wheatfield) except where specified (e.g. -on the cob, sweet-, pepper-) and I believe it had been a general term for cereal in a non-technical manner (farmers may have been specific about barley, spelt, oats, whatever) so could have been used even more generic. Maize was the "american cereal crop" and undoubtedly became the corn at some point, equivalent to our wheat, etc, post-colonisation, amongst the colonists.

(Ninjaed, though IME oats are only corn here when undifferentiatable.)

And I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about that four-gallons of oil, vinegar and brandy mix. Seems like it's some sort of alcoholic salad dressing!

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:42 pm UTC
by Keyman
Soupspoon wrote:And I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about that four-gallons of oil, vinegar and brandy mix. Seems like it's some sort of alcoholic salad dressing!

VSOP Vinaigrette

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:45 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Soupspoon wrote:And I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about that four-gallons of oil, vinegar and brandy mix. Seems like it's some sort of alcoholic salad dressing!


Irrefutable sources indicate that the oil was intended primarily as a personal lubricant.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:53 pm UTC
by sonar1313
Soupspoon wrote:In modernish British English, corn is pretty much "wheat" (cornfield == wheatfield) except where specified (e.g. -on the cob, sweet-, pepper-) and I believe it had been a general term for cereal in a non-technical manner (farmers may have been specific about barley, spelt, oats, whatever) so could have been used even more generic. Maize was the "american cereal crop" and undoubtedly became the corn at some point, equivalent to our wheat, etc, post-colonisation, amongst the colonists.

(Ninjaed, though IME oats are only corn here when undifferentiatable.)

And I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about that four-gallons of oil, vinegar and brandy mix. Seems like it's some sort of alcoholic salad dressing!

Oil for cooking with, vinegar for cooking and for preservation, and brandy because people got sick and died all the time and brandy definitely helps prevent that.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:01 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Umm, you guys all missed it : the first few items are consumables, but "Brandy" is a fine girl, and what a good wife she would make.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:02 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
I still think the settlers were secretly French. ;)

(Rather than English, with varying stopovers in the Netherlands.)

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:34 pm UTC
by itaibn
At first I thought as indicated here that the Kansas City Sun only published during the period 1914-1920, but this source claims they published on 1908-1924. Both sources only have archives between 1914-1920 which does not include the issue which purportedly holds this testimonial. However, the latter source claims that the newspaper generally publishes on Saturdays, which raises the question of why they would make an exception on Friday May 6th 1921.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:42 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
I'm disinclined to believe this as doesn't work as a list of rations without hardtack, meat, or water (or at least really watery beer).
Soupspoon wrote:I still think the settlers were secretly French
That would explain why it was brandy, instead of gin.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:25 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
"Corn" could well have referred to a variety of cereals to the people writing the alleged documents in the dusty archive, but it would not have meant that to readers of the Kansas City Sun in 1921. I also don't know why you would call it "cornmeal" instead of "flour" if it wasn't maize. But as Reka pointed out, corn would have already been available in the Netherlands long before the Pilgrims departed.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:35 pm UTC
by dmckeon
For contemporaneous (1600s) sources, see
https://sites.rootsweb.com/~smason/html/mayfllog.htm
and search for "hogsheads" and "Josselyn".

The term "corn" in this context is generic, and could mean any English/European grain,
although Josselyn suggests it refers to rye meal.
The phrase "Indian corn" is also used, presumably to mean
the New World grain which grows as kernels on ears on stalks.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:38 pm UTC
by DonR
Quite apart from the details of what English colonists were required to bring, and what "corn" might refer to, the use of "them" ("...each person...was required to bring with them...") would have been highly unusual for a reputable newspaper in 1921. At that point in history, respectable usage would have required "him" for the "generic person".

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:31 pm UTC
by orion205
itaibn wrote:At first I thought as indicated here that the Kansas City Sun only published during the period 1914-1920, but this source claims they published on 1908-1924. Both sources only have archives between 1914-1920 which does not include the issue which purportedly holds this testimonial. However, the latter source claims that the newspaper generally publishes on Saturdays, which raises the question of why they would make an exception on Friday May 6th 1921.


That's the wrong Kansas City Sun. Try this one.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:34 pm UTC
by GlassHouses
DonR wrote:the use of "them" ("...each person...was required to bring with them...") would have been highly unusual for a reputable newspaper in 1921. At that point in history, respectable usage would have required "him" for the "generic person".

The singular they may not have been as common in 1921 as it is today, but it wasn't unheard of. That usage goes back at least to Shakespeare.

Besides, once you start the sentence with "each person," using the inclusive "he" in the second half sounds awkward. Either be gender-neutral in both parts, or use the inclusive masculine in both.

Having said all that, I do agree that the "person...them" part looks anachronistic. I wonder if that's a literal transcription, or did someone modernize the language?

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:45 pm UTC
by Showsni
orion205 wrote:
itaibn wrote:At first I thought as indicated here that the Kansas City Sun only published during the period 1914-1920, but this source claims they published on 1908-1924. Both sources only have archives between 1914-1920 which does not include the issue which purportedly holds this testimonial. However, the latter source claims that the newspaper generally publishes on Saturdays, which raises the question of why they would make an exception on Friday May 6th 1921.


That's the wrong Kansas City Sun. Try this one.


Indeed, that finds it quite easily: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/2997772 ... mportance/

I can't tell if the advert for a bowling alley on the same page is being serious or tongue in cheek when it says that bowling is excellent exercise for the body and mind...

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:05 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
I wonder if it's just a one-off, or if "Really Not Important" was a recurring (humorous) bit in that paper. Maybe they just found they had a few inches to fill that day? The world may never know.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:18 am UTC
by Soupspoon
And, given how little it matters, it may never be truly established. ;)

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:41 am UTC
by The Moomin
Hi. Can we have the foods back now please.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:42 pm UTC
by da Doctah
cellocgw wrote:Umm, you guys all missed it : the first few items are consumables, but "Brandy" is a fine girl, and what a good wife she would make.

If she's such a fine girl, how come she works in a bar frequented by sailors?

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:41 pm UTC
by Time Traveler
Showsni wrote:
orion205 wrote:
itaibn wrote:At first I thought as indicated here that the Kansas City Sun only published during the period 1914-1920, but this source claims they published on 1908-1924. Both sources only have archives between 1914-1920 which does not include the issue which purportedly holds this testimonial. However, the latter source claims that the newspaper generally publishes on Saturdays, which raises the question of why they would make an exception on Friday May 6th 1921.


That's the wrong Kansas City Sun. Try this one.


Indeed, that finds it quite easily: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/2997772 ... mportance/

I can't tell if the advert for a bowling alley on the same page is being serious or tongue in cheek when it says that bowling is excellent exercise for the body and mind...


I'm glad to see somebody fact-checked this comic about fact-checking. Of course, I can't help but think that perhaps the effort is entirely contrary to the spirit of the comic. After all, nothing of importance hinges on the truth or falsity of this quotation from an old newspaper.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:37 pm UTC
by Old Bruce
Time Traveler wrote:...
I'm glad to see somebody fact-checked this comic about fact-checking. Of course, I can't help but think that perhaps the effort is entirely contrary to the spirit of the comic. After all, nothing of importance hinges on the truth or falsity of this quotation from an old newspaper.

Alleged old.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:26 am UTC
by reval
Ahhh, thanks! It was bothering me why this wasn't bothering me, and now I understand!
GlassHouses wrote:
DonR wrote:the use of "them" ("...each person...was required to bring with them...") would have been highly unusual for a reputable newspaper in 1921. At that point in history, respectable usage would have required "him" for the "generic person".

The singular they may not have been as common in 1921 as it is today, but it wasn't unheard of. That usage goes back at least to Shakespeare.

Hurray for They.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:30 am UTC
by cellocgw
Old Bruce wrote:
Time Traveler wrote:...
I'm glad to see somebody fact-checked this comic about fact-checking. Of course, I can't help but think that perhaps the effort is entirely contrary to the spirit of the comic. After all, nothing of importance hinges on the truth or falsity of this quotation from an old newspaper.

Alleged old.


And yet... there appears to be confusion about who this list applied to. "Pilgrims" were only indirectly from England, having first been sent off to the Netherlands. Did this list of goodies apply to the "second wave" of arriving Pilgrims, or did it apply to anyone who was emigrating directly from England? The fate of the free world depends on the answer!

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:12 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
Actually, it was addressing pilgrims from London to Canterbury that got really badly lost.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:04 pm UTC
by Old Bruce
Quizatzhaderac wrote:Actually, it was addressing pilgrims from London to Canterbury that got really badly lost.

Not certain that Brandy was available to them. Too lazy to Fact Check.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:45 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
Old Bruce wrote:Not certain that Brandy was available to them. Too lazy to Fact Check.

You must know a different Brandy than me because the Brandy I know is available to anybody. [insert reaction gif meme here]

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:19 pm UTC
by DavidSh
cellocgw wrote:
And yet... there appears to be confusion about who this list applied to. "Pilgrims" were only indirectly from England, having first been sent off to the Netherlands. Did this list of goodies apply to the "second wave" of arriving Pilgrims, or did it apply to anyone who was emigrating directly from England? The fate of the free world depends on the answer!


But the final point of departure was Plymouth, after them having twice turned back because of the Speedwell suffering leaks. So, if there were any such rules about people coming from England, they might have been applied.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:48 am UTC
by xtifr
Eebster the Great wrote:"Corn" could well have referred to a variety of cereals to the people writing the alleged documents in the dusty archive, but it would not have meant that to readers of the Kansas City Sun in 1921.

I suspect that what it might or might not have meant to people who wouldn't be born for several more centuries, living in an as-yet undiscovered part of the New World, was not a great concern of the people who wrote the (alleged) documents. :mrgreen:

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:02 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
xtifr wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:"Corn" could well have referred to a variety of cereals to the people writing the alleged documents in the dusty archive, but it would not have meant that to readers of the Kansas City Sun in 1921.

I suspect that what it might or might not have meant to people who wouldn't be born for several more centuries, living in an as-yet undiscovered part of the New World, was not a great concern of the people who wrote the (alleged) documents. :mrgreen:

You're missing the point. It was the newspaper, not the documents, that used the word "corn." It wouldn't have called it corn if it meant wheat.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:35 pm UTC
by xtifr
Eebster the Great wrote:
xtifr wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:"Corn" could well have referred to a variety of cereals to the people writing the alleged documents in the dusty archive, but it would not have meant that to readers of the Kansas City Sun in 1921.

I suspect that what it might or might not have meant to people who wouldn't be born for several more centuries, living in an as-yet undiscovered part of the New World, was not a great concern of the people who wrote the (alleged) documents. :mrgreen:

You're missing the point. It was the newspaper, not the documents, that used the word "corn." It wouldn't have called it corn if it meant wheat.

I'm sorry. You think the newspaper rephrased what the document said, in order to confuse people, rather than simply accurately quoting what the document said? I find that extremely improbable.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:47 am UTC
by Pfhorrest
I think he's saying that the newspaper would have paraphrased the document one way or another, not quoted it verbatim, and would have phrased that paraphrase in the language of the time. So if the newspaper said that documents claim that people had to bring corn, then the newspaper was saying the documents claims that people had to bring maize, not that the documents claim that people had to bring wheat, because when the newspaper writers said "corn" they would mean maize, and if they thought the documents meant wheat when the document said "corn", the newspapers writers would have said "wheat".

Of course it's possible that the documents said "corn", and meant wheat, and the newspapers writers read "corn" and incorrectly thought that it meant maize, and so wrote "corn" meaning maize, even though the documents meant wheat when they wrote "corn".

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:58 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
Right, exactly. If today a newspaper reported that the price of corn in 1600 was ten pence a pound, people will assume they mean maize, even if in the 1600s, that's not what corn meant.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:18 pm UTC
by svenman
Or maybe the writer did not even bother to think about what kind of cereal the term "corn" in the alleged historical document would have referred to and what possibly different kind of cereal their contemporary readers might understand when reading that word, given that they seemed to be of the opinion that nothing of importance hinged on the truth or falsity of that statement, let alone the accuracy of their report of it.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:01 pm UTC
by PM 2Ring
I doubt that the oil was cooking oil. It was much more likely to have been lamp oil.

Although olive oil has been consumed in Mediterranean regions since ancient times, Britons in the era of the Pilgrims used animal fats for cooking. The use of vegetable oil in Britain for cooking is a relatively recent trend. Even as late as the 1950s, olive oil wasn't a common food ingredient, although it was available in pharmacies for medicinal uses.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:25 pm UTC
by DavidSh
Indeed. An English cookbook from 1615, http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/1615murr.htm, mentions using butter frequently, lard occasionally, and "oyle" in only two cases: once with vinegar as a dressing for "sallet", and once (as "sallet oyle") for frying fish.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:11 am UTC
by GlassHouses
Deep frying, too, used to be done mostly using animal fat, specifically, beef tallow. The switch to vegetable oil took place quite recently, to serve the growing demand for vegetarian-friendly French fries. According to Wikipedia, McDonald's made the switch in 1990.

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:10 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
svenman wrote:Or maybe the writer did not even bother to think about what kind of cereal the term "corn" in the alleged historical document would have referred to and what possibly different kind of cereal their contemporary readers might understand when reading that word, given that they seemed to be of the opinion that nothing of importance hinged on the truth or falsity of that statement, let alone the accuracy of their report of it.

It's absolutely possible that the unnamed "investigator" made this mistake, I agree. Honestly, it doesn't even seem unlikely. The backhanded mention in the corner of a local 1920s newspaper is hardly a compliment. He certainly could have read a document that used the word "corn" and assumed it meant maize when it didn't.

But he could have been way more full of shit even than that. I like the comic because this was so inconsequential and so long ago that there is almost no way to critique the person directly. We might know for sure whether or not the claim is true (somebody probably knows that), but we still couldn't figure out where they went wrong.

EDIT: On the note above, I assume lamp oil was edible, right? What was the property of whale oil that made it so prized for lamps over other animal fats in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and did this make it inferior as a cooking oil? Was whale oil even used in the early 1600s?

Re: 2129: "1921 Fact Checker"

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:33 am UTC
by Sableagle
GlassHouses wrote:Deep frying, too, used to be done mostly using animal fat, specifically, beef tallow. The switch to vegetable oil took place quite recently, to serve the growing demand for vegetarian-friendly French fries. According to Wikipedia, McDonald's made the switch in 1990.

As recently as last year I heard someone making sure that a fish & chip shop uses beef fat before ordering there.

Parts of this county are already in the 20th century.