18 August 2006

That ol' time political correctness

To another posh party the other night where visiting old fart Brit fogeys were thick on the ground.

I'd been sounding off about my relief in leaving ultra-correct US of A for the splendid male piggery and everything else about Greece and everyone nodding politely and tutting in unison.

Later over the cognacs as I took my cigar out to the patio, one of the fartier farts (as I'd surmised) joined me and we stood in silence for a while til he said with a chuckle that, you know, this political correctness wasn't all that new.

"I remember when Guy Burgess took up his first diplomatic post in Washington. We all knew his reputation for drink and loose behaviour and pretty unashamed homo-sexuality and it fell to me to 'lecture' him on the high standard of moral and social behaviour expected of us Brits.

The racial situation at the time was also pretty fraught and I hinted that sensibilities of our host nation were not to be offended in this matter.

Guy heard me out with his usual amused smile and sardonic tolerance and then gave me a charming smile,

"What you really mean, dear boy, is that I musn't f*** Paul Robeson."


Ashley said...

Very nice punchline.

Busker said...

Yes, it is. I wish I'd recorded a wav file of the old boy's Edwardian accent as he delivered it.
Earlier in the evening, he'd delivered me a line I thought long since deceased: he'd tottered over to make drinks for his wife and coterie and I happened to be standing idly by so I offered to be a 2nd pair of hands in transporting the glasses.
Fixing me a stiff unsmiling look, he handed me the first batch with an: "Uncommon civil of you."

Author designate said...

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Busker said...

Glad you liked the party memory. Not sure what to say about the Guy Christmas letter: doesn't it lack a certain finesse and old-fashioned precision of vocabulary of which GB was capable when not in his cups? Burgess was an educated cove and his outpourings showed it: the letter as it stands reads more like a blunt-edged under-powered parody.