Whimsical Post #19: On Reading, with a most funny and irreverent passage

I really fail to understand how people can prefer to watch films than sitting down with a good book. Unlike films which you have to go and see after the painful chore of buying tickets (I use the word “painful” advisedly in view of what tickets cost these days – as I have been told since I haven’t watched a film in years or queued up for tickets), the search for books is a much pleasurable chore, and gives you immense satisfaction when you find a good one or something you have been cherishing for long.

Unlike films, which you normally go to a theatre to watch – and can have various undesirable elements – chattering teenagers, snivelling wom adults or crying babies – on your side, in front or behind, books are personal and can accompany you anywhere – for me, they are a constant companion on various journeys – be it train or plane, or even those from my home to office or elsewhere, at home or even at various slack times when I am out. And you can even ignore obnoxious influences around by immersing yourself in one – it is only the most crass and uncultured who would dare intrude…..

But, let me present a powerful contention. See the passage that follows. It deals with the medium of film, but even the prospect it visualises cannot be funnier than the account of it… that is my considered opinion.

Oh, if it interests you enough to make you read the rest of the book, it is John O’Farell’s An Utterly Impartial History of Britain — Or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots In Charge and the name says it all. The passage, from page 475, deals with the a radical change introduced during the premiership of Bonar Law [Andrew Bonar Law PC (September 16, 1858 – October 30, 1923) was a British Conservative Prime Minister (Oct 1922-May 1923), and the one with the shortest term (211 days) in the post in the 20th century], immortalised as the “Unknown Prime Minister”… (well according to Asquith anyway [Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC, KC (September 12, 1852 – February 15, 928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916 and was the longest continuously serving Prime Minister in the twentieth century until 1988]

~~The most interesting they did was to allow the silent movie cameras into Downing Street for the first time, which (rather wonderfully) the British Film Institute recently stuck up on YouTube. As silent movies go, stilted footage of old men with moustaches having a meeting isn’t quite up to the slapstick knockabout that the genre demands. The ministers walk into the room and sadly the Keystone Cops do not follow them in and bash them over the head with truncheons. Neither does the chair collapse and the cabinet table tip us. Instead the captions ratchet the hilarity up another notch: “The Duke of Devonshire (Colonies) discusses a point with Viscount Peel (India).”

With this, I rest my case…. (And if you don’t know what the Keystone Cops were or why they became legend, well then I can only say that you are more to be p. then c…… and for God’s sake, don’t ask me to explain this.


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