( Friday, March 23, 2007 )

Maybe the dingo ate your baby!

It's strange finding out the whole story of where certain sayings come from. It's interesting to see how they developed, and in a lot of cases, how they really mean something completely different than the way we use them.

Anyway, tonight I was watching an episode of Seinfeld, the one where Elaine says to a really annoying lady, "Maybe the dingo ate your baby!" And then I wondered, "I've heard that before but where in the heck does it come from?" I thought it might've been from a movie (that'd make a good line in the Godfather--"You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you? Or my boy to me? A dingo ate your baby!"). But no! It's actually from a murder trial in Australia back in the 80's.

This exclamation (and its variant, "The dingo ate my baby!") became something of a pop culture catch-phrase for a short time in the 1990s, as evidenced by its appearance in the two most popular television shows of the decade, Seinfeld and The Simpsons. Audiences found it amusing for several reasons: the phrase is hilariously incongruous in almost all situations, the word "dingo" is kind of funny in and of itself, and the line is invariably delivered in an atrocious attempt at an Australian accent. Even as they laughed, many American viewers failed to realize that the phrase is a reference to the sensationalized Australian murder trial in which defendant Lindy Chamberlain claimed that her infant daughter had been mutilated and eaten by a wild dingo.

For a random, if not interesting read, go here.


Blogger Brian said...

I've posted a couple vids related to this on YouTube.

Go to http://www.youtube.com and search for 'Seinfeld Dingo' or 'Simpsons Dingo,' among other things.


3:43 AM  

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