Wherein I feature a few nuggets I came across in my reading - ala Flaubert's Dictionnaire des Idées Reçus (Dictionary of Received Ideas). This time an Anglo-Saxon edition:
As a counterpoint to Malcolm Bradbury's witty turn that I previously pointed out:
I like the English, They have the most rigid code of immorality in the world.
I found this earlier and more caustic outburst from Evelyn Waugh at the height of his powers in Brideshead Revisited:
You must remember that I am not English; I cannot understand this keen zest to be well-bred. English snobbery is more macabre to me even than English morals.
Even bleaker from the same source:
"My dear, of course I'm right. I was right years ago when I warned you... I took you out to dinner to warn you of charm. I warned you expressly and in great detail... Charm is the great English blight. It does not exist outside these damp islands. It spots and kills anything it touches. It kills love, it kills art; I greatly fear, my dear Charles, it has killed you."
From Martin Amis who, in the past couple of years, has returned to the kind of groove that made his reputation as one of the most interesting writers alive.
Xan would not publicly agree, but women naturally like to prolong routine departures. It is the obverse of their fondness for keeping people waiting. Men shouldn't mind this. Being kept waiting is a moderate reparation for their five million years in power.Martin Amis - Yellow Dog
Amis continues to dabble in non-fiction and occasionally a similar incisiveness can be seen. From a column on football (the association kind):
The days when an England player's first touch could often be mistaken for an attempted clearance or a wild shot on goal - those days are over. The deficit is not in individual skill, it is in collective skill; it is in the apparently cultural indifference to possession.Martin Amis - We have to face it: English football is just no good
See other toli zingers
File under: literature, satire, irony, humour, Evelyn Waugh, Martin Amis, zingers, toli