History of a Joke: Enid Blyton’s Been Keeping Busy
The following is the most popular tweet I have ever written. (In fact, the only tweet I’ve ever made which has seriously gone viral in any meaningful way.)
BBC News front page: "Five convicted in paedophile case". One of Enid Blyton's less popular books.
— mumoss (@mumoss) November 2, 2011
Since I made that tweet in 2011, I’ve seen variants of this joke appear in many different places. Martin Bazley reminds me of an especially popular one from 2013:
Probably Enid Blyton's least popular novel. pic.twitter.com/3kPP9Ii04X
— hello, calz here (@CornishCalzone) October 12, 2013
Now, I am categorically not accusing of anybody ripping off my joke. It’s quite an obvious gag, and anybody could come up with it independently. Moreover, I’m not entirely sure a single joke can be ripped off as such, although that’s a discussion for another day.
Still, my question is: was I the first person ever to make this joke?
The answer is: no, of course not. As pointed out by Brendon Connelly, this one beats me by exactly one month:
"@thejournal_ie: Five to be charged over series of major burglaries in Dublin" The new Enid Blyton title?
— Keith Byrne (@keithinkrakow) October 2, 2011
I was genuinely quite pleased that one was dug out, if only to prove early on that this was simply about tracing a joke back as far as possible, rather than my ego.
Good to see Enid Blyton’s been keeping busy – OT
Here’s her new novel.
I’ll let you click on that link yourself to get the full effect.
So, 7th August 2010 is the date to beat. My challenge to you: can you find any earlier examples of this joke?