Article, History

LANGUAGE BEFORE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Long before the term political correctness had any meaning there was a richness to riposte sadly lacking in today’s vernacular. Those in the public eye often captured the headlines with a sneering wisecrack at an opponent. Newspaper editors too risked their readers’ wrath with an occasional derisive comeback.

Lord Sandwich was scathing when he scornfully addressed John Wilkes, editor of The North Briton: ‘Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of the pox.’ The newsman retorted: ‘That depends, sir, on whether I embrace your politics or your mistress.’

This exchange has wrongly been accredited to Gladstone and Disraeli. It was a time when the English language was an art-form; when people could communicate with richness.

‘If you were my husband I would give you poison,’ sneered Lady Astor to Winston Churchill. ‘If you were my wife I would take it,’ he answered back.

Insulting witticisms must include Clarence Darrow’s: ‘I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.’

If you think red-top tabloid crassness is a recent phenomenon reflect on William Faulkner’s take on Ernest Hemingway’s writings: ‘He has never been known to use a word that might send the reader to a dictionary.’ The war correspondent’s retort was to the point: ‘Does he really think that big emotions come from big words?’

Pity the wretched author who received a memo from Moses Hadas. ‘Thank you for sending me a copy of your book. I’ll waste no time reading it.’

Mark Twain, renowned for his sharp wit, once said; ‘I didn’t attend the funeral but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.’

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw loathed Winston Churchill. Aware that his corpulent foe was better known for his toadies than for genuine friends, he wrote: ‘I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play. Bring a friend, if you have one.’ Winston replied, ‘Cannot possibly attend the first night, will attend second, if there is one.’

Any in a misplaced relationship may take heart from Stephen Bishop’s remark: ‘I feel so miserable without you. It is almost like having you here.’ Equally sardonic the opinion of Irvin S. Cobb: ‘I have just heard about his illness. Let us hope it is nothing trivial’. The playwright Oscar Wilde was famous for his wit: ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.’

This brings us to the thereafter which prompted Jack E. Leonard to surmise; ‘There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.’

Thomas Brackett Reed might easily have been talking of today’s celebrities when he said, ‘They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.’ As for enthusiasts of pop music Billy Wilder spoke for many: ‘He has van Gogh’s ear for music.’

MICHAEL WALSH is a worldwide journalist, broadcaster and author of 64 book titles with 36 years experience. Like other journalists of integrity, he no longer writes for corporate media, opting instead for true journalism.

! ! Senator Fritz Hollings I will if you take an IQ test

! ! Noel Coward almost look like a man

! ! Dorothy Parker. Apparently youtr mother could bear fools

! ! Henry Clay, not be troubled. He will never be either

! ! Hitchcock. Best side, u r sitting on it

! ! Lincoln Whose do you polish

! ! Mark Twain lightning isn't distributed right

! ! No, I pray for my country

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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WEELEUROPE ARISE TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROESMEGACAUST,  DEATH OF A CITYWITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTER , THE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and IIFOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAKIMMORTAL BELOVEDTHE ALL LIES INVASIONINSPIRE A NATION Volume IINSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG,  THE RED BRIGANDSRANSACKING THE REICH ,    SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS  SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH:  JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS ,   The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise THE DOVETAILS and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

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Article, History, Uncategorized

Spanish Skipper Who Saved an Armada

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Enugu Palm in colour

Never forgotten was the drama as the Palm Line freighter Enugu Palm after finally answering the wheel skimmed by a metre or two a row of ocean-going freighters moored at the port’s quays. A second’s delay on the part of Captain Inés would have led to one of the worst shipping disasters in African history.

Had it not been for the quick thinking of the skipper several freighters moored at the Ivory’s Coast Port of Abidjan would have been devastated.

Enugo Palm at dock

Palm Line, a British-owned shipping company, plied 5,000 miles West Africa’s seaboard. In the early 1960s, the company’s commodore was Spanish Captain Inés, whose hands-on character was legendary. He never suffered fools so I got on perfectly well with him.

Palm Line vessels were specially designed to negotiate the sand bars of the African creeks that otherwise excluded entry to liners that might otherwise bring trade to communities located to the Dark continent’s interior.

Ibadan Palm deck cargo

The Port of Abidjan on the Ivory Coast, however, is a modern port. Having picked up the pilot at the port’s approaches, Captain Inés, in accordance with the protocol, surrendered control of the Enugu Palm to the pilot. The local pilot’s knowledge of the port is essential for safe mooring.

On this occasion, it soon became self-evident that all was not quite right. The recently boarded pilot was blind drunk and quite incapable of riding a bicycle let alone a fast-moving ocean liner in the narrow confines of a port.

Enugo Palm

The Enugu Palm did successfully negotiate the port’s Vridi Canal without colliding with its palm thronged banks. As an 18-year-old Ordinary Seaman standing at the ship’s wheel I was best placed to see the unfolding drama as the pilot inexplicably instructed the engine room to full ahead. After all, we were now approaching a lengthy quay along which several freighters were moored.

African creeks

Riveted, I watched the expression of growing alarm on the face of Captain Inés. Racing at full speed, about 25 kilometres per hour, the Enugu Palm’s bow was clearly destined to cleave the nearest moored freighter in two. I must have been the only British sailor ever to witness a port pilot being roughly cursed and physically shouldered aside as a ship’s captain resumed control of his doomed laden ship.

Rushing to the telegraph, bells clanged alarmingly as Captain Inés swung the lever to Full Astern. Simultaneously, he ordered me to swing the wheel hard to port. The rest was down to fate. Unlike a car, a ship can travel a long way before it responds to a change of command.

collage_michael-seaman-5

Never forgotten was the drama as the Enugu Palm finally answering to the wheel and skimmed by a metre or two a row of ocean liners moored at the port’s quays. A second’s delay on the part of Captain Inés would have led to one of the worst shipping disasters in African history.

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Michael Walsh was a British Merchant deckhand (AB) during which time his ships scoured sores of seas. By the time he was 24-years of age, he had visited, lived and worked in over 60 countries. His sea memoirs, Believing of Liverpool is crammed with fascinating stories, images and anecdotes.

READ MORE:  Believing of Liverpool by Michael Walsh.

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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WEELEUROPE ARISE TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROESMEGACAUST,  DEATH OF A CITYWITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTERTHE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and IIFOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAKIMMORTAL BELOVEDTHE ALL LIES INVASIONINSPIRE A NATION Volume IINSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG,  THE RED BRIGANDSRANSACKING THE REICH ,    SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS  SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH:  JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS ,   The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise , THE DOVETAILS and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

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