BL: basket case
Posted: 22 August 2013 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Another word rooted in an urban legend, and a grisly one at that.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m not sure I would take at face value the military’s denial of such cases.  It seems to require almost magical or divine intervention to prevent the occurrence of such injuries among the carnage of the world wars, although I suppose one could make the argument that, given the less advanced medical care of the time, most casualties that might require high amputation of all four limbs simply died.

(edited to correct typo)

[ Edited: 23 August 2013 05:47 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 23 August 2013 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Point taken. I’ve changed the “no” to “few, if any.”

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Posted: 23 August 2013 06:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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For what it’s worth the description of a quadruple amputee did make it into the song Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye.  Whether it was exaggeration or not I wouldn’t know.

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Posted: 24 August 2013 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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From World Wide Words’ entry on basket case:

Rumours that there were many examples of such casualties similarly circulated among US forces in the Second World War — particularly a widely syndicated report of December 1943 that stated, “The real candidate for Time mag’s ‘Man of the Year’ should be the 21-year-old basket case in the Army’s Percy Jones Hospital at Battle Creek, Michigan” — and brought a similar denial from the Surgeon General of the time, Major General Norman T Kirk, who said in April 1944 that “There is nothing to rumors of so-called ‘basket cases’.” Time magazine noted in August 1945, however, that the Army man in Percy Jones Hospital existed and named him as Master Sergeant Frederic Hensel, who went on post-war to become a chicken farmer with the help of donations from the public. In May 1950, the same magazine noted that US Army pilot Jimmy Wilson was the other quadruple amputee of the war.

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Posted: 25 August 2013 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Every word origin is arbitrary in origin.
It is the assigment we give that pre-sets our understanding.

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Posted: 25 August 2013 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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In Midcentury Alabama it was understood that “a basket case” was a referant to those living in Brice’s Insitute for the Insane.
Some of these folka were and some of them weren’t but only a few of them flew over the coo-coo’s nest (the reference is to be an escape from this poem}.

In Alabama “a basket case” as a rule referred to those who wove baskets, a mindless endearment to the good folks in an asylum in Alabana.

What a life, what a wonder, I’m in love,

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