And While I’m Busy Stealing Things From Other Blogs…

… I liked this comment, from Tom Hurka, in a CT comments thread:

At the Edinburgh Festival in 1977 I saw a wonderful play called “Ludwig and Bertie”. It was about Wittenstein and Russell – and Bertie Wooster. You see, Russell and Wittgenstein have agreed to meet, for the first time, in the Trinity College, Cambridge library, which happens to be where Bertie Wooster is going to meet this new man he’s hired, called Jeeves. (He’s going to the library to find an ethics book and read about this “categorical aperitif”.) Well, various misidentifications follow, with Russell thinking Bertie is Wittgenstein (and utterly unsuited to philosophy) while Wittgensein thinks Bertie is Russell (and the stupidest man he’s ever met). It all reaches its climax when Russell encounters Jeeves, who’s of course been the Wittgenstein family butler in Vienna and taught Ludwig everything he knows. How, Russell asks him, can the sentence “The present king of France is bald” be meaningful if there’s no present king of France? “May I venture to suggest, sir”, Jeeves replies, “that we can analyze this sentence as saying that there is one and only one x such that x is the present king of France and x is bald?”


3 thoughts on “And While I’m Busy Stealing Things From Other Blogs…”

  1. From Jeeves Takes Charge:

    I cursed his aunts and his uncles and him and all the rest of the

    ‘Do you know that Lady Florence has broken off her engagement with me?’

    ‘Indeed, sir?’

    Not a bit of sympathy! I might have been telling him it was a fine day.

    ‘You’re sacked!’

    ‘Very good, sir.’

    He coughed gently.

    ‘As I am no longer in your employment, sir, I can speak freely without appearing to take a liberty. In my opinion you and Lady Florence were quite unsuitably matched. Her ladyship is of a highly determined and arbitrary temperament, quite opposed to your own. I was in Lord Worplesdon’s service for nearly a year, during which time I had ample opportunities of studying her ladyship. The opinion of the servants’ hall was far from favourable to her. Her ladyship’s temper caused a good deal of adverse comment among us. It was at times quite impossible. You would not have been happy, sir!’

    ‘Get out!’

    ‘I think you would also have found her educational methods a little trying, sir. I have glanced at the book her ladyship gave you — it has been lying on your table since our arrival — and it is, in my opinion, quite unsuitable. You would not have enjoyed it. And I have it from her ladyship’s own maid, who happened to overhear a conversation between her ladyship and one of the gentlemen staying here — Mr Maxwell, who is employed in an editorial, capacity by one of the reviews — that it was her intention to start you almost immediately upon Nietzsche. You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.’

    ‘Get out!’

    ‘Very good, sir.’

  2. ” I once asked him(Woodehouse), if there wasn’t a profound undercurrent of social criticism running through the Jeeves and Wooster novels. He denied it as uproariously as if Ihad detected Marxist or Freudian implications in his work.”
    Malcolm Muggeridge, In Esquire, back in the early in the late Nineteen Sixties.

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