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Fattie
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Origin of "name happened" form - from "shit happens" via "magic happens"?

There's a form in current English, "then thing happened" or just "thing happened",

where you transition the name of a thing (a person, character, or perhaps a thing like say a blockbuster novel), to mean in the phrase the dramatic effects of the arrival of the thing

It's kind of a natty twisting of the character name in to something bigger than life, so, the thing in question is so big the name can refer to not merely the thing/person itself but a whole system of events/culture/action associated with it.

So, an example ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/magazine/george-lucas-red-tails.html ("then Star Wars happened...")

Well now, since I am old enough I lived through the evolution of this phrase in popular culture, it's obvious to me - again I am stating strictly "what I saw" - that

(1) you had the phrase "shit happens"

(2) people (this is a guess - in the 80s?) started turning that around to "nice-word-here happens", notably "magic happens".

(3) Subsequently someone stumbled on to the form "name happened" to use when describing action movie characters, sport teams, dot com booms and the like.

Again - my point here is I have always assumed "name happened" comes from "shit happens". ie, the "name happens" form is a multi-clever play on "shit happens".

But by all means, I could be completely wrong in this.

I have two questions

(1) Survey -- for other native English speakers over 50 who lived through all this, in fact, is that what you hear? is "name happened" a play on "shit happens"?

(I quickly asked a couple friends/etc who are as old as me and also lived in a spread of english-speaking regions, and - purely FWIW - they did agree. But that means nothing as evidence of course.)

(2) i've found it extremely difficult to find any information on this, not least because the "name happened" form is un-googleable.

(on wikipedia, there's a mention that "shit happend" may be from 1983, but wikipedia is less than useless, of course)

I have not been able to find (a) when "shit happens" was first used, (b) when the tshirt or bumper sticker "magic happens" first appeared, and (c) when the "name happened" phrase first appeared.

It would be great to know more about the origin of "name happens" but I've found it super-difficult to search on the subject.

Fattie
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