Saturday, March 22, 2014

A dry martini can't be faked

  In recent postings, it has been my     pleasure to cite extracts from two 
  great peers of the dry martini, 
  Lord Dacre of Glanton and Dame 
  Edith Sitwell. An odious aspect of     this conduct has been brought to       mind by the ministry of my own          interior, on the principle that one     doesn't tamper with a classic.

  An unassailable postulate, so far
  as postulates go. The tampering, if
  that is what it was, would have had
  to be perpetrated by illustration,
  so obviously remote from context, as
  to act, rather, to insulate text. 
  Still, our self-collarings are the     strictest. I respect their delight.

They are people, such as our-
selves, to whom the gift of
language and its countless 
expressive uses was a life-
long joy. It naturally does
strike us as unfair, to adapt
their texts as cartoons for
our illustrative captions.
This, however, is not what
I did, in exploiting Sit-
reference to Swift's mer-
curial temperament, and
Trevor-Roper's pure hilar-
on devotions. If I must
make it more plain that I
cherish their genius for 
the lark in their dry, dead-
pan demeanor, I would only 
wring graffiti from their
martini, to no good end.

   But there is a fraudulent mode, 
   a collapse of reflection which
   we have begun to see again,
   in the operations of demagogu-
   ery in publications on Crimea.
   The worst, we haven't yet seen;
   but George F. Will's misapprop-
   riation of Timothy Snyder's
   ine in Ukraine, revived the
   terrorism with only ersatz
   crusts of reason. To dress
   that grotesquely partisan ser-
   mon with one of Mr Faulkner's
   masterstrokes of sentiment, on-
   ly underscored its shabbiness.
   We are born free of this fault,
   and see quite through its ghosts.

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