“I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect,” WROTE TOM STOPPARD: If you get the right ones in the right order, you might nudge the world a little or make a poem that children will speak for you when you are dead.”
Current Contentions: In Defense of Churchill (1): Cancel Culture
Text of my Zoom address to the Chartwell Society of Portland, Oregon on 10 May 2021, 81st anniversary of Churchill taking office as Prime Minister. “Current Contentions: In Defense of Churchill” is available as an iTunes audio file. For a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 1: Defense, defense
Senator Packwood, Justice Gillette, members and guests of the Chartwell Society: I welcome you, if only virtually, so you won’t even be able to throw rolls if I say something silly. Taking his first tv screen test, Sir Winston muttered: “Even though we have to sink to this level, we always have to keep pace with modern improvements.”…
Churchill by Himself, my encyclopedia of Winston Churchill’s most quotable remarks, is to be republished. (If the publishers can ever agree about what form and substance they will allow each other to produce.) To the the original 4000 quotes I’ve added so far 600 new ones.
The “Red Herrings” appendix of misquotes has also grown apace. That, however, is always kept up to date online. You can look it up:
Churchill was criticized for his extremely respectful letter to the Japanese Ambassador to Britain in December 1941, when informing him that their countries were at war. Churchill’s response to critics was, “After all, when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.” Was Shigemitsu acually killed? —W.H., New York
A: No, he lived on
Churchill was writing in the abstract, so did not actually propose to slay the Ambassador. Mamoru Shigemitsu was Japanese ambassador to the Soviet Union 1936–38 and to Britain 1938–41. Following Japan’s attacks of December 1941 he received unhampered passage home.…