More lines on the misuse of English

I suppose I’m happy that Irish gays can now marry other gays. I wouldn’t say I’m ecstatic about it, because to be honest I think there are far more mainstream injustices in the Republic that should be tackled first. But once they marry, there will still be a further insurmountable problem: where to go for the abortion should one of them fall pregnant.

Yes, it’s Saturday night…and a column of innuendo lies ahead, “You lucky people,” as Tommy Trinder used to say. You may remember ‘innuendo’ as being a word at one time referring to anything that my Grandad Aloysius would’ve called “smut”. Nowadays of course, it has been reinvented by the political class to mean ‘solid evidence of suspicious behaviour we shall deny until Hell freezes over’ in relation to somebody now or once powerful. Keep pointing out the likelihood of this shiftiness, and you will then be accused of ‘trial by mob’. It’s a good point in general of course: but unlike the tabloids, I never ask for a trial – what I ask is why that person hasn’t even been questioned under caution. Names like Piers Morgan spring to mind.

But the thing I’ve always loved about the word ‘innuendo’ is that in and of itself it sounds – you know, a bit, er, ‘f’nar f’nar’. It’s a word with which Larry Grayson would’ve had a lot of fun. One can almost hear the routine:

“So anyway, my friend Everard he said to me, he said ‘that’s innuendo’ he said, so I said well I said shall we leave that til later and while yer at it, shut that door”.

Max Miller would’ve deconstructed the word in this quickfire manner:

“No really missus listen stop giggling girl an’ listen, I met this girl, lovely she was, and she said stop with all this innuendo no really, shurrup you’ll get me banned again, so I says if I put my end in you we’d all be in trouble…’ere no, stoppit, listen….”

Anyway, for the 75+ per cent of the audience who’ve no idea whatTF I’m on about, let’s move on to the news about a team of geneticists concluding that just a handful of Bronze Age men sired three-quarters of all Europeans alive today. Perhaps they should be renamed Bike Age men, and for me that’s the flaw in the theory: the bicycle wasn’t invented until 1790, so one is at a loss to work out how they did it, given the average speed of a chariot was 6.1 kilometres a day.

Truth is, tabloid hacks are on the whole bone idle, and so for added drama they used the word ‘sired’ on this story. The real story is much more interesting: the Y chromosomes of the majority of European men can be traced back to just three individuals living between 3,500 and 7,300 years ago. It’s the same with mice, except the time span is shortened somewhat. If my house here is anything to go by, I’d say we’re talking no more than seven months.

The source article itself, by the way, is absolutely fascinating.

But returning to comics again, this resonates with a lot of Tommy Cooper jokes, for example:

“Now be careful when you’re crossing the road tonight folks, because statistics show a man gets knocked down every five minutes. And ‘e’s bloody fed up of it, I can tell you”.


George Carlin – for my money easily the funniest liberal comic in history – launched the innuendo thing to new heights when he took revenge on the political class by putting their own weasel words under close scrutiny:

Well, mistakes were made but lessons have been learned. People will be investigating how this happened and why. No stone will be left unturned, but when this enquiry stage is over, I will once again put my trust in the innate good sense and wisdom of the American people…..and move on from this unfortunate mishap”.

What hay Carlin would’ve made with the never-ending crop of soundbites emitted by both sides in the Syriza v Troika 2 marathon not so much unfolding as unravelling before our eyes at the moment.

The desperation of both sides (to convince the neutrals that they want the best for the other side) I’m afraid merely serves only to put into sharp focus what I’ve been saying from the start of this farce: they absolutely loathe each other. The body signals between Varoufakis and Dijesslebloem at their first televised meeting represented not just language – more fluent Anglo-Saxon with a bit of consonanted Latin thrown in.

There’s a very good piece at Jacobin this week by the left-wing Greek academic Stathis Kouvelakis that blows the lid off this hypocritical politesse. But for the latest updates, carry on dear reader. Here’s a good one from Twitter:

Tsiprasbite323515Yes, there is a willingness to compromise, but there are also red lines. We have drawn lines in the sand, and the tide may wash them away, but there will always be solid white lines on the road ahead where licenses will be lost if the EU pantechnicon crosses them. And always remember that any tanks arriving in our streets will see double-yellow lines and attract fines which shall be added to the reparations you still owe us from your last visit during the 1941 to 1945 Deutsche Wanderung jamboree.

And from the Troikanauts…this classic yes-and-no release from eurogroupe table-leg Dijesslbleom from eight days ago:

‘The Eurogroup today took stock of the state of play with the ongoing negotiations between the Greek authorities and the institutions. We welcomed the progress that has been achieved so far. We note that the reorganisation and streamlining of working procedures has made an acceleration possible, and has contributed to a more substantial discussion. At the same time, we acknowledged that more time and effort are needed to bridge the gaps on the remaining open issues.’

Yes, we like them really, these sneaky Greasers, and we’re going on with being ongoing about progress, achievements, acceleration and substance. But the bridge we are trying to build still has the all-important middle bit missing leaving it open for innocent Belgian motorists to plunge into the river below thus adding to the litany of crimes already committed by these, our valued Greek EU partners.

One might describe all this as stereophonic innuendo. Personally, I think most of the players in both the media and pol spaces are a bunch of comedians….bell-ends of which I’d like to see an endo.

And now….the Eurovision Song Contest beckons. Thank the Lord for some serious EU culture.