NPF: THAT HE DID, CHAP.

In 1882 an internal dispute between the compositing (layout and typesetting) department and the editorial staff of The Times of London led to an incident that can best be described in modern terms as "Victorian Shitposting."

A speech by Home Secretary William Harcourt was selected by the editors to be reprinted in full due to an upcoming by-election. The conclusion of the Rt. Hon. Gentleman's speech was, in the edition that went to press and was distributed across England the next day, quoted as follows:

I saw in a Tory journal the other day a note of alarm, in which they said “Why, if a tenant-farmer is elected for the North Riding of Yorkshire the farmers will be a political power who will have to be reckoned with." The speaker then said he felt inclined for a bit of fucking.

The reader could be forgiven for wondering if Sir William had in fact said this, or had perhaps been misquoted.

Victorian Furor followed. The Times ran a mortified apology four days later and left no stone lie in its attempt to find the perpetrator. A few months later (presumably he) struck again. An advertisement for a book called Everyday Life in our Public Schools was altered to claim that the book was bolstered by "a glossary of some words used by Henry Irving in his disquisitions upon fucking."

Many employees of the compositing department were given the sack. It is unclear if the guilty person was among them, or merely was scared into ceasing his endeavors by the consequences handed down to his co-workers. In either case the incidents stopped and did not return.

Truly was this a great moment in the history of culture-jamming, pranking, civil disobedience, or whatever one chooses to call this kind of brilliance.

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18 Responses to “NPF: THAT HE DID, CHAP.”

  1. DWhite Says:

    Whoever did it obviously had no fucks to give, except of course for those printed.

  2. mothra Says:

    I believe we'd call it brilliant fuckery.

  3. mago Says:

    After a spell of race, class and gender discussion it's good to get an old fashioned NPF with some clever fuckery. Thanks.

  4. mago Says:

    Er, brilliant fuckery.

  5. April Says:

    Victorian porn is AWSOMELY explicit/horrendous/incredible (or so I've been told..ahem…)

  6. Bill Says:

    It's Tremendous Fuckery.

  7. democommie Says:

    If we have not been successful in a lot of ways, in this world, a good ol' Anglo-saxon "fuck" or derivative is in use everywhere i've ever been–even those places with perfectly serviceable profanity of their own.

  8. J. Dryden Says:

    Pretty sure this was the basis for about three separate Python bits.

  9. Ormond Otvos Says:

    In the early sixties, the San Francisco Chronicle had a couple Linotype operators who inserted humorous and sometimes scatological mistakes in the news section, often designed to embarrass local pols and bigwigs. One of them was a flatmate of ours, D. Gregory.

  10. Katydid Says:

    When I first started working, we had a typing pool–you'd hand-write whatever you needed to have typed up and give it to the pool leader, and at some point you'd get a call to pick up your job. This went particularly wrong if you were documenting install procedures, because "slot" always became "slut" and you never, ever wrong "tuck" because it would become "fuck". You were completely sunk if you copped a 'tude about it–guaranteed the most embarrassing typos possible.

  11. democommie Says:

    Ed:

    Nothing to do with fucking, sorry to br OT.

    I am not a drummer, I couldn't carry a beat in a bucket but I've photographed a fair number of them over the years.

    I was talking to this guy, https://www.facebook.com/drummerbobholz/app/2405167945/?ref=page_internal

    at a split-gig thing he did last night in our fair city.

    Check him out.

    He's playing the Wescott in Syracuse, NY next Sunday and I'm going to try to make the show and get some pix for him.

    He asked me what sort of room it was, "A shithole.", I said, "but good for music". It looks like the rec room of a bad dream.

  12. Kaleberg Says:

    In 1884, Mark Twain had a problem with an obscene illustration in the release of Huckleberry Finn. Maybe something was going around. If nothing else, the 1880s were probably a low point for labor. Sometimes the little guy strikes back. Usually its by doing a half assed job, but sometimes it's more visible.

    http://mentalfloss.com/article/31107/crudely-drawn-penis-almost-derailed-huckleberry-finn

  13. democommie Says:

    I had a couple of years with a psychotherapist back in the early 80's. Great guy, he really helped me understand that changing shit wasn't what life was about.

    One day we got into a discussion about people getting pissed at somebody and not being in a position to get what they want out of the deal. He related that he had worked as a busboy @ resort in the Catskills while he was in college (nice jewish boy that he was, it was in one of the 'borscht belt' resorts). He said that one night he saw two older, townies throwing perfectly good raw steaks into a garbage can and asked them what was going on. They told him that they were pissed off at their employer. He said, "Why not take the streaks home and eat them?". They replied that they didn't want to STEAL anything, because that would be wrong.

  14. A.Riley Says:

    Mark Twain tells a story about a typesetter at a small newspaper in Missouri (iirc) who was doing one of the side jobs that kept the paper afloat, typesetting & printing a sermon by one of the local men of the cloth. The copy ran a little long, long enough that it would have to run into another signature of paper, thus costing the reverend a lot more money. Thinking to spare the man's pocket, the typesetter carefully went through the type, changing each instance of "Jesus Christ" to "J.-C." as they do in France.

    Well, whennthe parson saw the proofs he hit the ceiling. "Never never never abbreviate the name of our Lord and Savior, young man!!" he shouted. You go back and correct every single one. You spell it out in full!!"

    So the poor typesetter did just that. He painstakingly went back and changed every single instance of the Savior's name to Jesus H. Christ. And then he neatly printed and bound all 1,000 copies and lit out for the territories.

  15. Anon Says:

    Hi Ed-

    Off-topic, but for professional reasons I'd love to be able to get a particular comment off of an old thread. I can't figure out how to e-mail you…

    Is there any way to do it?

    Thanks.

  16. UKJim Says:

    Don't forget other typographical mischief such as this http://sandsmediaservices.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/old-subs-revenge.html

  17. Bitter Scribe Says:

    Once a community newspaper ran a picture of somebody shoveling out their driveway after a major snowstorm. The caption read, "Although a shitload of snow fell on the tri-county area yesterday…"

    Just the caption-writer's little joke, which the copy editor didn't catch. Afterwards I doubt it was that funny.

  18. democommie Says:

    "Although a shitload of snow fell on the tri-county area yesterday…"

    We are close enough to Canada up here on the Ontario lakeshore that we always defer to our backbaconbros. We would have called a "metric fuckton".