The Other I

March 18, 2011

In defense of the understatement

Filed under: The English — theotheri @ 4:27 pm

It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs.

Margaret Thatcher



  1. Well, people have accused Margaret Thatcher of many things, but this is the first time I’ve heard her being accused of understatement!



    Comment by Chris Lawrence — March 19, 2011 @ 7:56 am | Reply

    • Chris – Well, you confirmed the reservation I had when I made this post. A niggling voice did suggest that it wasn’t clear. What I meant to imply was that understatement has its values, one actually, which seems to be more appreciated by the English than the Americans. In response to my bone density scan, for instance, my GP said the results were “fine.” I used the word “fantastic.” Which possibly suggests that I wouldn’t make a very good hen.

      On a more serious note, I’m delighted to know you are still out there. I’ve just started to read Harvey Cox on The Future of Faith, much of which I like very much (though I am afraid he is still a dualist, which is not a position I can any longer buy into). He talks about faith, for instance, as more akin to trust and emphatically differentiates it from dogma. You and I had a brief exchange on this, but at the time I did not realize that this concept of faith goes at least as far back as early Christianity.

      I am aware that we arrive where we each are now from different backgrounds, which is one of the reasons, I suspect, that I often find your insights startlingly refreshing. Anyway, as I’ve been reading Cox I find myself thinking “interesting idea; I’d like to try this one out on Chris.” Which is another way of saying that, although I don’t always agree, I never find your thinking lacking in either intelligence or compassion. And besides that, you not afraid to listen.

      Speaking of understatements – thank you.


      Comment by theotheri — March 19, 2011 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

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