Not Saussure

March 5, 2007

Reports of her death are greatly exaggerated…

Filed under: Blogroll, hubris, nemesis — notsaussure @ 7:36 pm

Via Devil’s Kitchen, I see that Recess Monkey — for the benefit of those who haven’t encountered him, Recess Monkey aspires, for some unaccountable reason, to be a Labour version of Paul Staines and isn’t very good at it — has been taken in by a cruel hoax. The Monkey explains,

A journalist friend of mine (who obviously knows me too well) sent me a late night wind-up text message, knowing that I would rush it out before going to bed

The comments are hoot. I particularly liked this plea to not to get side-tracked:

I think we’re getting off the point. The point is that RM is an arse. Please can we keep on topic.

Update — from Iain Dale’s Diary:

Tonight on Blogger TV at 9pm I’ll be giving Alex Hilton from Recess Monkey the chance to defend himself for announcing Lady T’s death somewhat prematurely. He’ll be on the sofa with Chris Ames, Sunny Hundal, Andrew Ian Dodge and Clive Davis.UPDATE 6.47pm: Alex Hilton has just emailed to say he won’t be joining us after all.

I think Mr Hilton is, as Baroness Thacher would doubtless put it, frit.
Pedants’ corner:


DK quotes the classical tag, Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad, which he says (citing Wikipedia) is attributed to Euripides. While I hesitate to cross swords with so noted a classicist as DK, my copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1979 edition) lists it in the original Greek

Οταν δε Δαιμων ανδρι πορσυνη κακα,

Τον νουν εξλαψε προτον.

as by our old friend Anon (entry 10:1) and comments

Scholiast on Sophocles, Antigone, 622ff. See R. C. Jebb’s edn (1906), Appendix pp 255-6. Perhaps best known in Latin translation. See 199:15.

199:15 turns out to be one James Duport (1606-1679), who wrote in his Homeri Gnomologia (1660, p 282), Quem Jupiter vult perdere, dementat prius (Whom Jupiter would destroy, he first sends mad).

See also Notes and Queries, No 22, Saturday, March 30. 1850.

It’s also well-known, of course, in the context of Enoch Powell’s (in)famous Rivers of Blood speech.

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  1. Nice to see that upstart Mr Euripides taken down a peg or two.

    That’s interesting, because I’d never actually seen the quote in the original Greek.

    By the by, I am not, and have never been, a student of Ancient Greek – and if any are reading, they may snort with derision at this – but it seems to me that literally translated the quote reads, “When the Gods prepare ill for a man, they first steal(?) the mind.”

    At least I think that’s what it says. Perhaps a passing scholar might set me right.

    Comment by Mr Eugenides — March 5, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

  2. That’s what I think it means, too; ‘destroy’ rather than steal, perhaps, but my classical Greek isn’t too brilliant, either.

    Comment by notsaussure — March 5, 2007 @ 11:06 pm

  3. As I said, I’m flying half blind when it comes to Ancient Greek, and εξλαψε was the word I didn’t get – I thought perhaps it was derived from κλέπτειν, to steal.

    Never mind. I think we’re getting off the point. RM is an arse.

    Comment by Mr Eugenides — March 6, 2007 @ 10:06 am

  4. […] were most interesting yesterday what with a Labour blogger sticking his foot in it and declaring Lady T dead when she wasn’t. First things first, I attended a rather good event […]

    Pingback by Dodgeblogium » Blog Archive » Last evening’s events… — March 6, 2007 @ 11:55 am

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