Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Things to Say with Absolute Confidence at Dinner Parties

Via Frank Key I find this magnificent quote from Elaine Scarry’s Dreaming By The Book (1999):

It is not hard to imagine a ghost successfully. What is hard is to imagine successfully an object, any object, that does not look like a ghost.

It occurred to me that this would be an excellent thing to declare, with complete certainty, at a public gathering. So, further to a suggestion from Frank, I’m hereby launching a new occasional series of Things to Say with Absolute Confidence at Dinner Parties, perhaps with a view to compiling a handbook for confident twaddle-merchants.

Do feel free to suggest your own party-stunners. Here are some to be getting on with…

1) It’s not what you know. It’s not even who you know. It’s who you don’t know in this business.

2) Muggsy Spanier was the cornet player’s cornet player (source: Dearieme)

3) I am actively hostile to the ‘New Year’. (source: Peter Hitchens, via Hooting Yard)

4) Of course, cupcakes have completely ‘gone to Prestatyn’, as the kids say.

5) Entering a room populated by other people sets in place a circumscribed illustration of how embodiment, spatiality, and otherness work together to produce what is peculiar to both the typical and atypical body. Yes, I noticed that distinctly when I came in. (source: Dr Dylan Trigg)

13 comments:

Gaw said...

I find it is usually acceptable to respond to such statements with: "That's as sure as eggs is eggs, that is".

Frank Key said...

Or one can respond with "Well, you say that, but..." and leave it hanging ominously while you stuff yourself with the canapes.

malty said...

Nobody leave the room.

jonathan law said...

"As Lyotard, of course, insists to forget something is always an intensely erotic experience."

David said...

I'm not bothered by imminentizing the eschaton, but I will not stand for immanentizing the eschaton.

Recusant said...

I've always found, when losing an argument or finding myself out of my depth, that a random word, usually, in my case, 'Peru', followed by, when they look at you with those explainyourselfIdon'tgetit faces, 'Think about it', works wonders every time.

Exiled To A Pompous Land said...

I once ‘(went) to Prestatyn’ as a child and I've never been quite the same since.

mahlerman said...

'Banana skins are invaluable for imparting a gloss to brown shoes' In the era, long gone, when dinner parties loomed large in my life, this remark was a real show-stopper. Trust me on this...

Peter said...

"Yes, I recall Chamberlain said much the same."

malty said...

Superstition is the poetry of life, no harm to be superstitious.

Brit said...

These are all excellent showstoppers. Peter's Chamberlain one is more or less used on blogs every day, in circles where all noble things are 'Churchillian', and all craven things 'Chamberlain-like.'

For the dinner party I'd be tempted to push it firmly into the realms of the baffling, however. Something like: "Of course, Neville Chamberlain is in many ways the greatest President the USA never had."

Gaw said...

Re Peter's, you could counter: "Ah yes, The Thornbirds wasn't just moving, it was wise."

www.malaga-3d.com said...

This won't actually have success, I think so.