Saturday, 25 June 2016

They resemble liars


Do not always be Jesting. Wisdom is shown in serious matters, and is more appreciated than mere wit. He that is always ready for jests is never ready for serious things. They resemble liars in that men never believe either, always expecting a lie in one, a joke in the other. One never knows when you speak with judgment, which is the same as if you had none. A continual jest soon loses all zest. Many get the repute of being witty, but thereby lose the credit of being sensible. Jest has its little hour, seriousness should have all the rest.

Baltasar Gracian - The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)

As we know, Boris Johnson has a gravitas problem, much the same problem Baltasar Gracian highlighted over three and a half centuries ago.

Currently Boris leads the betting for our next Prime Minister yet his public persona is hardly statesmanlike. Even Jeremy Corbyn has more gravitas than Boris. What are we to make of that if Boris is so smart? Perhaps it suggests he isn’t because the alternative is a little hard to swallow. 


Sam Vega said...

"Even Jeremy Corbyn has more gravitas than Boris".

I take your point, and in a way your phrase is a marvellous illustration of the power of the English language. But I'm not sure I agree, having thought about it. Boris has a sort of low-grade Rabelaisian grandeur, and his ambition is certainly a marvel. There is a sweaty pathos about him that makes one take note, at least.

Corbyn, on the other hand, is a man made redolent of rancid committees and lives wasted in the pursuit of delusions. It is impossible to have less gravitas than Corbyn. He is weightless in the way that dreary grey fog is weightless.

Anonymous said...

To Sam, very well put.

The question in my mind is 'what were those who own the DT and the Mail hoping to achieve?' Possibly an economic agenda for low wages - a kind of Sports Direct pay scale for everyone except the upper middle and the elite. Or merely flogging some chip paper. Look out for a distinct 'rowing back' exercise as reality kicks in.

Demetrius said...

Boris as Leader and perhaps Prime Minister is a little like asking Will Kemp/Kempe to play the role of Hamlet.

A K Haart said...

Sam - a good analysis and for many you are probably right. I think many will see it differently though. For them, Boris is an upper crust buffoon while Corbyn has the gravitas of a man of principle.

Roger - the rowing back seems to have started already and Boris may well be the chap to give it a push, whatever he may have said before the referendum. Yet both the UK and the EU would probably be better off if all non-eurozone countries were to leave the EU because this is the core problem.

Demetrius - yet he seems keen to take it on. The mind boggles, or it would if it hadn't run out of boggle some time ago.