Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Telephone Pole Was Approaching

Theodore Dalrymple rails against the use of the passive voice here. His comments brought to mind my father's theory about the cause of the Second World War: 'You cannot say, "I dropped my glove" in German,' he used to assure me, 'you can only say, "Mein handschuh ist hinein gefallen". If a man can't even take responsibility for what he does with his clothing, what hope has he?'

To put things in perspective, my friend Geoffrey's wife, Quyen, reckons this may be my father, dropping in for a pre-Christmas visit - or possibly this.

4 comments:

  1. Ich habe meinen Handschuh fallen lassen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another paternal thesis exposed as false - he makes a very handsome caterpillar though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I too love to find linguistic causes for everything. I've recently been puzzling over why the First World War started - so as to add yet more erudition to the discussion about why Romanians and not Hungarians are currently running Transylvanian, natch - and have decided that 'Schlieffen Plan' simply sounds unimpeachably efficient and beneficial to humanity (like 'Vorsprung durch Technik' or whatever it was), regardless of what it actually entails.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think it's the word 'plan'. And with a capital 'P'.

    ReplyDelete