You couldn’t make ’em up

Two gems from the weekend:

  • “[The World Bank’s] most recent reforms of voting rights were remarkable only for their temerity.”
    The glimmer of a possibility of change at the World Bank, Peter Chowla, Guardian, 14 April 2012.
    Who has the temerity to suggest that it might have been timidity that characterised the reforms?
  • “I doubt [sc. ‘if’] you will ever find a politician more desperate to believe Nietzsche’s aphorism that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger than Mitt Romney.”
    Mitt Romney’s erratic judgment is already undermining his candidacy, Michael Cohen, The Observer, 15 April 2012 (opening sentence!).
    Amazing prescience on Nietzsche’s part.

And from a little longer ago on the Web:

  • “I also recall an interesting essay, More than one English question, … which reveals the diverse political and cultural drivers underpinning the rising tide of English self-consciousness over the last 20 years or so.”
    Please draw a picture of a driver underpinning a rising tide.
  • “The initially small but revolutionary collection literally explodes.”
    About Olaf Benz – Men’s Swimwear …
    Blowing the unfortunate swimmer out of the water, I suppose.

And a late addition from an email circular from Cunard:

  • “We wanted to remind you that as a loyal Cunarder our exciting new 2013 voyages are available for you to book from 8am on 24 April. “


4 Responses

  1. Tim Weakley says:

    I wonder what kind of self-consciousness exhibited by the English the writer had in mind?  Nationalism, or a tendency to blush when spoken to, or an awareness of one’s own existence?

  2. Brian says:

    Tim, I was more interested in the magnificently mixed metaphor.  You can find the answer to your own query by visiting the original at and the texts to which it links.  But you may need a lot of black coffee at your side if you do.

  3. Peter Harvey says:

    The Goons had exploding trousers.

    Brian writes: Peter, thank you for this very pertinent observation. But I suppose everything’s relative: exploding trousers sound quite luxurious compared with exploding swim trunks. (Better not explore the image any further.)

  4. Peter Harvey says:

    But if you do wish to go further, Wikipedia has this:
    In New Zealand in the 1930s, farmers reportedly had trouble with exploding trousers as a result of attempts to control ragwort, an agricultural weed.