London Calling: Widows & Wanderers

London Calling: Widows & Wanderers

By Lakshman Menon | 19 January, 2013

Eighteen months ago, Crystal Harris jettisoned Hugh Hefner at the very steps of the altar declaring: "I'm not turned on by Hef. Sorry".  Last month, exercising the prerogative of women through the ages, she changed her mind and married him.  Hefner gallantly said Crystal "deserves to be my widow".   Who can doubt she will be? At 86, the old roué is 59 years older than his unblushing bride. As for the new Mrs Hefner, she tweeted forth that she was "feeling very happy, lucky and blessed".  I'd be feeling pretty blessed myself, especially if Hefner's longevity proves the same as his virility which, as Crystal once famously said, lasts "like two seconds".

Revisionist Revenge

If there is anyone more mendacious, duplicitous and deranged than Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina, I urge them to donate their head to the Natural History Museum. [Do sit down, Ed Miliband; you're bound for a different institution]. Mrs Kirchner has half bankrupted her country by taking out advertisements in the British left-wing press to mark the 180th anniversary of the date when "in a blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped" of the Falkland Islands by the British and "the Argentines on the Islands [sic] were expelled by the Royal Navy".

Even as a revisionist, Mrs Kirchner is as maladroit as she is moronic. For one, Argentina did not exist in 1833. It was known as the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, created by colonialists of predominantly Spanish extraction [from whom Mrs Kirchner herself descends] who extirpated, suppressed and subjugated the indigenous peoples. For another, in 1833 the total population of the Falklands was just 44. Far from being indigenous to the islands, they numbered Brits, Germans, Uruguayans, a Frenchman and a Jamaican. When a British ship landed on January 3rd 1833, the captain politely asked the "Argentinean" military garrison, which had been in illegal occupation for all of three months, to leave. The brave garrison didn't just take him at his word; they fled.  All but two of the twelve "Argentinean" civilians, however, remained. Their descendants are among the present population of 2,500; a self-governing and proudly British Overseas Territory by their own free choice. The "colonialists" in this story are the Argentineans who invaded the Falklands in 1982 before being ejected for their pains.   Mrs Kirchner would do well to remember this fact, catastrophically obtuse though she may be.

Phrase and a Half

A friend has introduced me to a figure of speech known as paraprosdokian in which the second half of a phrase is so unexpected that it forces the reader to re-interpret the first part. Oscar Wilde skilfully deployed paraprosdokians: "Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go". Churchill skewered Sir Stafford Cripps with: "There but for the grace of God goes God". [For all his love of America, Churchill observed with acuity: "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing; after they have tried everything else"].  Here is an unattributed paraprosdokian which could be applied to all politicians; "a fool and his money are soon elected". Dr Manmohan Singh is, of course, the exception to this rule. Despite the abundance both of his own fatuity and of his party's coffers, he has never persuaded the Indian voters to elect him to parliament. He became Prime Minister through the aegis of Mrs Gandhi the Second. That he remains in office proves the theory that behind every successful man is a surprised woman.

Thunder & Frightening

On the same theme, as Einstein maintained, the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.  The imbecility of the peddlers of "global warming" is boundless. As the journalist, Christopher Booker, reminds us, for years, these wretched creatures have prophesied that Britain would be struck by "hotter, drier summers", plagued by drought from early spring "until Christmas and perhaps beyond". 2012 ended up having the wettest spring, the soggiest summer and being the wettest year since records began. The Met office now confesses that global warming has "slowed down" and that it is "actively researching" the "potential causes".  It needn't bother; the only truth about global warming is that there's no such thing as global warming. I wish there were. What fun to dine al fresco in London instead of being trapped, shivering, indoors.

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