Thursday, March 08, 2007

Words of Wisdom from the Brits

Kevin Drum's story of a week ago in Calpundit needs more attention. As he then wrote,
A fellow named Giles Coren wrote a book review for the Times of London recently that incorporated the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," noting that it contained all 26 letters of the alphabet in a 35-letter sentence. An editor changed it to "a lazy dog" but failed to change "35 letters" to "33 letters."
Mr. Coren, of whom the BBC reports,
Journalist and author Giles Coren's novel Winkler has won the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for the most awkward description of an intimate encounter.

The food critic's book describes a sexual act between a man and a woman, in which "she scratched his back deeply with the nails of both hands".

The rest of the winning passage is unprintable for a family audience.

penned an email response, which was duly reprinted in The Guardian Online.
From: Coren, Giles
Sent: 10 August 2002 16:41
To: James, Anita

Cc: Wells, Dominic

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. how fucking difficult is that? it's the sentence that bestrides the fucking book i reviewed for you. it is the sentence i wrote first in my fucking review. it is 35 fucking letters long, which is why i wrote that it was. and so some useless cunt sub-editor decides to change it to "jumps over A lazy dog" can you fucking count? can you see that that makes it a 33 letter sentence? so it looks as if i can't count, and the cunting author of the book, poor mr dunn, cannot count. the whole bastard book turns on the sentence being as i fucking wrote it. and that it is exactly 33 letters long. why do you meddle. what do you think you achieve with that kind of dumb-witted smart-arsery? why do you change things you do not understand without consulting. why do you believe you know best when you know fuck all. jack shit.

that is as bad as editing can be. fuck, i hope you're proud. it will be small relief for the author that nobody reads your poxy magazine.

never ever ask me to write something for you. and don't pay me. i'd rather take £400 quid for assassinating a crack whore's only child in a revenge killing for a busted drug deal - my integrity would be less compromised.

jesus fucking wept i don't know what else to say.

[I have often thought that last sentiment while grading.]

Kevin Drum added:

It reminds me of why I like the British press: they print things the way people say them. For example, back in February The Economist ran a story about Stephen Byers, the transport minister. Apparently one of his advisors had suggested burying some bad news by releasing it on the day of Princess Margaret's funeral, his chief information officer had responded with an email advising against it, and within days of the exchange becoming public it was announced that both had "resigned." But they hadn't, or at least the chief information officer hadn't, and he had detailed notes to prove it. Oops. Or, as one participant said, “We're all fucked. I'm fucked. You're fucked. The whole department is fucked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we are all completely fucked.”
After Scooter's verdict, the Democrat's inquiries into Walter Reed, the US attorney firings, and another week of triumph in Iraq, I imagine there are now many parts of the White House repeating this part:
“We're all fucked. I'm fucked. You're fucked. The whole department is fucked... we are all completely fucked.”
Stephen Byers was the British transport secretary who was ridiculed through the UK. Here is the lead-in to the BBC story of May 24, 2002.
It's official. Stephen Byers has become a joke.

On this week's episode of Radio 4's comedy I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Graeme Garden announced the following late arrival to the Society Ball for MPs.

"Welcome please Mr and Mrs Bennett-is-Stephen-Byers-still-there? and their son Gordon."

For him to become the butt of a joke on the most unpolitical of comedy shows is something of an achievement. But as an opinion poll indicated this week, Stephen Byers is not a popular man.

His popularity rating has even slumped below Mrs Thatcher's at her lowest ebb.

In a poll, his popularity was measured as minus 49%, a figure calculated by subtracting the number of people who think he is doing a bad job from those who think he's doing a good job.

It's no mystery how he has gained such notoriety. Some of his low points include:

• The Jo Moore thing, when he backed his special advisor after she wrote an e-mail advising 11 September was a good day to bury bad news.

• Being ridiculed when he claimed to have secured an extra £2.2bn investment in the railways, only for the Treasury to deny it.

• Facing accusations of lying when he told Parliament his press chief Martin Sixsmith had resigned, when in fact he hadn't.
Oh. The 9-11 business. THAT Stephen Byers. Is there no home for him in the Bush administration? FEMA, perhaps?

ADDENDUM:See the Dictionary of English slang and colloquialisms of the UK (Letter c) for British usage of the "c-word".
cunt (!) * Noun. 1. The female genitals.
2. Women from a sexual viewpoint. Offensive.
3. A despicable person. Derog. and coarse, and with its associated meanings is consequently particularly offensive.
4. A very familiar term of address. E.g."Hello you old cunt, how are you? You're looking well."
5. A difficult thing or task. E.g."I'm not offering to help him move house, he's got a piano and it'll be a cunt of a job to shift it."
Exclam. An exclamation of anger, surprise, frustration, disappointment.

* Undoubtedly the most offensive and taboo of all vulgarisms, and particularly so to women, however its use is becoming more frequent. Consequently it is gradually losing its offensiveness and perhaps will in due course become as accepted as 'fuck' in its use. The word goes back to Middle English, cunte, and before then it can only be speculated upon, however some believe its origins lie with the Latin, cuneus, meaning wedge.
cunted Adj. Very intoxicated by drink or drugs.
cunt-face Noun. A contemptible person. Also cuntface.
cunt-faced Adj. Very intoxicated.
cunting Adj. An intensifier. E.g."If this cunting weather doesn't improve within the next 24 hours we'll have to cancel the whole trip."
cuntox Noun. A contemptible person.
cunt struck Adj. Sexually besotted by a woman. Also cuntstruck.
cunty Noun. A contemptible person.
cuntybaws * Noun. 1. An objectionable person. [Scottish use]
2. Occasionally used as a term of address. [Scottish use]
* From cuntyballs.

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