A few days ago, Tim (the other Tim) was having a bit of a go at the 2007 Bad Sex in Fiction Award, noting that it was "ironic that the organisers of an ironic writing award can't seem to recognise ironic writing."
Well, yep. This sent me googling to find that other bad writing award site, the "Foot in Mouth" award by the Plain English Campaign. In previous years, they have presented awards to various daffy film stars, and Donald Rumsfeld, for his remarkably stupid "Known Unknowns" speech. Fair enough, then - but I was more than a bit baffled by their selection of this quote from Boris Johnson, on a news quiz program on the BBC:
I could not fail to disagree with you less.
That's bad, but is it really remarkably bad? It sounds like a Boris attempted a witticism but it went wrong: repeating yourself for rhetorical effect often works, but it's just a pity that in this case, the repetition became a triple (or is it quadruple?) negative.
"I could not fail to disagree with you less." The more I think about that statement, it really is something that I could not succeed to disagree with more. Or perhaps it is something that I
could not fail to disagree with more? It's certainly something that I could never be robustly and wholeheartedly non-supportive of, and I must say that I can not fail to sympathise with the argument less, although some of my ideological opponents may take issue with me there.
It barely even matters what Johnson is agreeing (or, to put it more accurately, failing to disagree less) with. As a matter of fact, in these times when there is so much division between left and right, I could only wish that people would fail to disagree with one another in a friendly fashion more often. At the very least, they could agree to disagree with one another less, or perhaps even agree more to not fail to disagree less (whichever comes first).
Indeed, I would go so far as to say that it is a failure to not fail to disagree with one another less that is the principle failure of modern times. In other words, it is not so much a failure to communicate as an unfailure to not communicate less with one another.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the real failure.
PS - Please feel free to disagree with me less in comments. Or at least fail to do so.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- Great philosophical debates presented in the form ...
- Pious in the skious
- By the terrifying power of blog comments, I condem...
- The sorrows of young Pacman
- NT notes...
- Seen on the noticeboard of the Alice Springs IGA
- Craption contest two!
- Atheist Christmas carols
- Just ask the hat
- Addicted to quitting
- A seasonable song
- A piece of the distraction
- Self-defeating ideas
- Bark, the feral angels sing
- Blood, sweat and tears - with bonus kid!
- An unemergency of some urgency
- Bertie Wooster on human sacrifice
- A belated report on hearing Germaine Greer lecture...
- Employment pages
- Not a winner of the ARIAs
- The ancient lost art of telephonics
- Suggested names for Satanist children
- A curmudgeonly film review
- My entry for the 2008 Foot In Mouth award
- ▼ December (24)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)