[extropy-chat] Red Herring Transhumanists

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Sun Jul 4 00:55:01 UTC 2004

At 10:38 PM 7/3/04 +0100, BillK wrote:

>Now, the origin of 'Red Herring' is much more interesting.  :)


>Curing herring in this fashion not only preserves the fish and changes
>its color, but also gives it a distinctive smell, and thereby hangs
>the modern meaning of "red herring." In training hounds to hunt foxes,
>these red herrings, dragged on a string through the woods, were used
>to lay down a trail of scent for the dogs to follow. There is also
>some evidence that red herrings were, later in the training process,
>sometimes dragged across the scent trail of a real fox to test the
>ability of the hounds to ignore a false clue and stick to the scent of
>the fox. From this practice comes our use of "red herring" to mean a
>false clue or bogus issue designed to confuse one's opponent (or, in
>the case of our recent election, the voters). "Red herring" first
>appeared in the literal "smoked fish" sense around 1420, but the
>figurative "phony issue or false clue" sense didn't appear until
>around 1884.

Very nice red herring for the redneck thread :-)


Natasha Vita-More
President, Extropy Institute  http://www.extropy.org
Founder, Transhumanist Arts & Culture  http://www.transhumanist.biz
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