Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Will Power

I suspect that Will ("A General Theory of Rubbish") does not approve of limericks, given their twee and middle-class origins with Edward Lear. However, the following, by a latter-day master, Robert Conquest, brought Will somehow to mind, and I couldn't resist:

A usage that's seldom got right
Is when to say shit and when shite,
And many a chap
Will fall back upon crap,
Which is vulgar, evasive, and trite.

There was a young fellow called Shit,
A name he disliked quite a bit,
So he changed it to Shite,
A step in the right
Direction, one has to admit".

Conquest's other great triumph was his book about Stalin's purges, The Great Terror: this was first published in the 1970's and widely dismissed as right-wing propaganda. After the collapse of the USSR and the Stalinist empire in 1998/90, and Soviet archives confirmed that what Conquest had said was true, his publishers suggested a new edition of the book. 'What about a new title, Bob? We won't pretend it's a new book, but a new title would be good. What do you say?'

Conquest answered: "Well, perhaps I Told You So, You Fucking Fools. How's that?


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