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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/6525-The-Red-Herring.html
Mystery: September 03, 2014 Issue [#6525]

Newsletter Header
Mystery


 This week: The Red Herring
  Edited by: ember_rain
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

The first story I ever read by myself was a mystery. My first short story I ever wrote was a mystery and of course, the first novel I ever tried to write--I really need to finish it--was a mystery. Life itself is just one good mystery waiting to reveal itself just around the corner of time. Life would be boring without it and that is why I occasionally do this newsletter--to remind myself that everyone needs a little mystery.

Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor

My kids were watching Scooby and the gang in one of those spin off shows where they were all kids but still drove the Mystery Machine. (That's a mystery in and of itself.) I couldn't help but laugh when I heard Velma declare that the criminal was Red Herring. It did get me to thinking though. Why exactly do we call false clues red herrings? It didn't hurt I knew this newsletter was going to be due soon. So, I went looking. What I found was that even the story behind where the term comes from is a red herring.

There seems to have been a book written on fox hunting called "Nicholas Cox's The Gentleman's recreation",published in 1697, that suggested when training horses to follow the dogs despite the noise, you should use a dead fox or something else very smelly like a red herring. If you back tracked and circled around enough, you could potentially mislead not just the dogs but the horses as well. People have long believed it came from dog training, however the fish was only mentioned in the horse training section. .

It didn't become part of the writers vernacular until 1807. A radical journalist known as William Cobbett wrote a story about a young boy who used a red herring to pull some dogs off the scent of a hare. Now, of course, this was a metaphor for what he thought was happening in the French Media of the day. He believed they were writing false stories about Napoleon. It made him angry, so he wrote a story to try and make a point. This lead to a very long period of time where people thought the boy was real. They believed that he actually used a red herring to mislead some dogs.

In 2008 an article was published in The Comments on Etymology putting the matter to rest once and for all. The boy long believed to be real was just a means by which to tell a story highlighting the deception and subterfuge of the enemies of Napoleon that had in Cobbett's mind taken over the French Media.

In other words, our beloved method of misdirection was created by politics that appears to have been the same in 1807 as it is today, full of red herrings.

Source: {x-link:http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/herring.htm}The Lure of the Red Herring

Editor's Picks

These are some of the stories that came up when I searched our database for Red Herring.

The Atlantis Discovery  (18+)
Framed for a grisly crime, Jericho must find Atlantis, save the girl and clear his name.
#1075789 by DP


The Music Box  (18+)
Honorable Mention Winner in the 75th Writer's Digest Competition.
#1093302 by StephB


The Atlantis Discovery  (18+)
Framed for a grisly crime, Jericho must find Atlantis, save the girl and clear his name.
#1075789 by DP


What a search through short stories got me

 Red or Green. Mr Thompson  (GC)
A simple choice, drastic consequences.
#2006671 by Colin


 Red or Green. Mr Thompson  (GC)
A simple choice, drastic consequences.
#2006671 by Colin


 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#2005446 by Not Available.



 
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Word from Writing.Com

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Ask & Answer

Have you ever used a red herring?
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Word from our sponsor
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