The Muffin Man?

This is an odd one. Some idiot has claimed as fact a stupid joke about the ‘muffin man’ of the child’s song/nursery rhyme actually being an historical serial killer and some credulous folk (including medium.com) have fallen for it. Snopes have correctly debunked it, yet despite a total lack of any evidence for it being the case, have labelled it ‘unproven’. I hope they figure out that this isn’t how history works. The onus is on the claimant to provide a reference. They aren’t going to find a definitive origin for a traditional song like that that would allow the (patently ludicrous) claim to be disproven. It’s moderately endearing that Snopes had to find out via furious Googling that ‘muffin men’ were a real thing. I learned this when I was a child. Maybe it’s a British thing that Americans have lost their cultural memory of. The very concept of the muffin man is very clearly enough to debunk this bollocks on its own. The muffin man was a guy who went door to door selling tasty treats that kids enjoy, not some ‘Slenderman’ bogeyman figure. It would be like suggesting that there was a serial killer called ‘Mr Whippy‘. Anyway, this Jack Williamson guy is just another internet attention-seeker who will hopefully disappear forthwith. As for Snopes, I can’t fault their article, but I suspect their ongoing foray into political fact-checking has made them a little gunshy of calling things ‘False’ without hard evidence.

3 thoughts on “The Muffin Man?

  1. Mr Whippy was not a serial killer (what is that, anyway – is it a colonial version of a mass-murderer?). He was, as everybody knows, part of that heinous grave robbing duo: Mr Whippy and Mr Softee.

    1. Very good 🙂 As for ‘serial killer’ (or ‘serial murderer’ if you prefer), it is well-established in both British and U.S. English by this point but yes, it originated in the U.S. where that particular category of murderer was first identified. It is more specific than ‘mass murderer’ and involves a particular type of pathology/psychology. Stalin was a mass-murderer; he was not (as far as we know) a serial killer.

  2. Who can forget the frisson that accompanied the refrain “Cup hands, here comes Cadbury,” and the less said about that monstrous pair Mr Maize and Blondie Butter, the better.

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