Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Language and its meaning II

Plenty of political stories will refer to a rough division in Gordon Brown's cabinet between the 'grey beards' and 'young Turks'. It's pretty obvious what this means, isn't it? – why, here's the youthful chief secretary to the treasury making this very point.

It's just that the phrase doesn't just mean what he seems to think it means. If I were a member of the cabinet (and you just don't know what you're missing out on) I'd be a tad wary about comparing myself to the perpetrators of the first genocide of the 20th century.

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Blogger dominic said...

the Rod Stewart song of the same name also springs to mind as being no less inappropriate

3:09 pm  
Blogger Nick said...

There's a wonderful story (possibly apocryphal) about a News Editor and his Deputy, overheard discussing personnel issues in the gents:

Deputy: 'You know, what we need around here are some Young Turks'.
News Editor: 'I know we need some new faces - but why the fuck do they have to be Turkish?'

The same News Editor reportedly overheard some Subs having an injoke, which consisted of an adaptation of a line from one of the Flashman movies, namely: 'You are a bully and a thief, Flashman, and there is no place for you at this newspaper.'

News Editor: 'Who's this Flashman?'
Deputy: 'I dunno. Is he a freelance?'
News Editor: 'Whoever he is, get rid of him quick - he's a bully and a thief!'

Both stories are recounted in Alan Watkins' fine Fleet St memoir, A Short Walk Down Fleet Street.

8:31 pm  
Blogger bill said...

Well subs do tend to be brighter, more literate and wittier than the average news editor. Though I might not be the most unbiased source for that.

12:00 am  

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