April 28, 2013

Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 9

Around and About


Churchillian Drift” (FH 155:9) continues. In July Donald Trump Tweeted the Churchill red herring, “However beautiful the strategy you should occasionally look at the results.” Not to be outdone, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, after release from an arrest in Houston, declaimed, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Sports writer Ray Ratto wrote: “I tried to figure out whether he was a history major, watches PBS a lot, has a nerd posse or has an agent or publicist who watches the Military Channel between Kardashian developments.” As we advised Ratto, Mr. Peterson was quoting Churchill no better than Mr.Trump. Perhaps we should start a new Twitter page called @ErsatzChurchill.

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The London Olympics closing ceremony, a jolly good show, reincarnated Sir Winston, played by actor Timothy Spall, who read from Shakespeare’s The Tempest atop a replica St. Stephen’s Tower (which houses Big Ben). Spall, who played Peter Pettigrew, the rat-turned-man in Harry Potter, and WSC in The King’s Speech, always overplays Churchill. This made him perfect for the job, and better than the image of John Lennon, singing “Imagine there’s no countries” before the assembled flags of 204 countries. We preferred the majestic rendering of God Save The Queen.

Beatles, Beatles: In a spoof “biography” of Paul McCartney in February 2012, Eddie Izzard said McCartney, the son of Jacques Cousteau and Katherine Hepburn, grew up near the water: “Winston Churchill, who was a family friend—and brilliant deep sea diver—bought Paul his first fishing rod….Paul found that by holding his fishing rod in a particular way, he could play fishing rod solid-air guitar, which impressed Churchill a lot. Some say that watching McCartney play on a fishing rod in 1962 encouraged Churchill to record ‘Ferry Across the Mersey,’ which was a big hit in the UK and America for Churchill and The Few. But with time on his hands, Paul found that with a little imagination, he could rewire his fishing rod and make it into a working guitar, which he did in 1962.” And the rest is history….

Nassau County, New York Executive Edward P. Mangano announced the approval of a $93 million complex in down- town Mineola, Long Island that will provide housing for working young professionals and affordable housing for the elderly.The young professionals will get a five-story, 275-unit apartment building known as “The Winston.” Seasoned citizens will have a four-story, 36-unit building known as “The Churchill.” The choice of names pleases us. Yuppies will have the model of young Winston, charging headlong with worlds to conquer, while their seniors will have old Winston, who never gave in, never, never, never….

“Bill Kristol would like to remind you of Winston Churchill’s rabid bigotry.” Thus David Graham in The Atlantic, September 21st, after Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, published (its umpteenth occurrence since 9/11) Churchill’s 1899 remarks about Islam in The River War: “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!” Never the voice of reason over Churchill (see “The Atlantic Takes a Dive,” FH 113, http://xrl.us/bif47u), the magazine also drags out the shibboleth that Churchill caused the 1943 Bengal famine.We wonder how Mr. Graham would explain his claim that it is “rabid bigotry” to insist, as Churchill did, that women not be owned by men.

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