Saying Pooh to Power

Last night I was sneaking  a peek at Ordinary Jack — I’m still reading Winter of the Birds — and I saw this great advice from Uncle Parker:

“You must have the courage of your convictions, Jack old lad. If you mean ‘Pooh!’ then you must say ‘Pooh!’ and devil take the consequences.”

Note that in this case Uncle Parker is saying pooh to defend Jack, who is very much an underdog. Just going around saying pooh to just anybody is rude. But some people have it coming…

So, today I sent a one-word e-mail to a certain person in a position of some authority who really had it coming. I don’t think he quite understood it. He seemed to think it must mean ‘poop.’ It has a more nuanced meaning than that, to my mind.

 

Anyway, I’ve started a page of Bagthorpe wisdom and I’ll be adding others as I find them.

I’m hoping to find one that may or may not be Bagthorpian:

If something’s not worth doing, it’s certainly not worth doing right.

That’s a credo very much at odds with the school system I endured. And which Robert Nifkin endured in a Pinkater book I just read. When the keeping of a notebook is much more important than understanding its contents then you know something has gone wrong.

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One Response

  1. I have placed reserves on the sequels to Ordinary Jack. At first glance, the Bagthorpes remind me a bit of Hilary McKay’s Casson family. They are a family of eccentric brilliant people who annoyed me at first, but then they grew on me. I was thrilled when Uncle Parker gave wot’s-her-face the smackdown. He’s right– there’s far too much boasting going in that family. I’ve had young patrons tell me in all ernestness how smart they are.* The words are not their own, but of the grownups around who seem to value academic intelligence to the exclusion of everything else (with the possibly exception of athleticism).

    *I’ve also had young patrons tell me, “We’re only 5 [6,7….] years old!” To which I replied, “That’s old enough to know you shouldn’t pull all the books off the shelves for someone else to pick up.”

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