Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Safire the Leech

Here is the best of our memorized declamations, by Timothy van den Broek, one of our two friends from the far side of the great wetness (he's a Brit).

A bit of quick background: Safire's Lend Me Your Ears is a huge tome of great boredom (the "world's best speeches," except they weren't half as good as our average Rhetoric declamations), and there is a leech that "stands" on bushes waiting for people to pass by, to whom it shall form an attachment.  In their sinuses.  They remain blissfully unaware.  No, I'm not joking, and yes, God made it too; why, I don't know.

Timothy van den Broek
Lend Me Your Noses

Frinds, Latinists, honorary countrymen, lend me your noses; I come to bury Safire, not to praise him.

No score and sixteen years ago, Safire wrote a book, and many scores before that, God made South American leeches.  They shoot out of a good looking bush, and fight against the established travel conventions of your nose, slinking up past all the hair and debris into the more hospitable parts of your nasal territory.  You flinch, you go "eww," but kudos to the leech, for it does at least make its intrusion pain free.

Ask not what pain Safire will withhold from you.  He came out of that lovely bush that is the rhetoric reading list, and in the style of such wormy ambushes, went straight for the nose.  Fat, slimy, slowly, wiggly--and with no anaesthetic.

I had a dream--and my dream was wrong.  In my dream, when I bought the 1,150 page book I was paying for two things: speeches and good judgment.  And don't get me wrong, there is good in Lend Me Your Ears.  I am an ardent lover of nature, and I cannot help but have warm fuzzy feelings when I hear about South American leeches.  I cannot but adore St. Francis' sermonette to the birdies.  Yet so many bad speeches!  And so many hacked up good speeches!  And what made it all so dashed awful was the way the anthologist made every possible reference he could to his own wit, skill, knowledge and general splendificoriousness.

Here I stand, I can do no other.  Vale, amici.

It was amazing.



rebec said...


And how long did it take to get everyone off the floor and back into their seats???

J. A. Broussard said...

It was remarkably brief, as a girl with a sore throat was following him. That was a segue.

All in all, about twelve people didn't need prompts. It was painful.

Wodehousian Fun