Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hitchens on Mortimer

Christopher Hitchens recalls the author John Mortimer. An excerpt:

Surrendering to cliché in the end, he did accept a knighthood and become “Sir John,” and he did become Falstaffian in appearance and indulgence: “so surfeit-swell’d, so old, and so profane.” He declined to care about his weight and health, maintaining that “there is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.” Approaching the root of the matter in one courtroom, he congratulated the jury on having sat through perhaps the most boring legal case on record. The judge in his own summing-up began by saying, “It may surprise you to know, members of the jury, that the sole purpose of the criminal law in England is not to entertain Mr. Mortimer.” Quite possibly not, but the attempt to prove otherwise was as good a way as any of keeping those demons at bay.

[HT: Arts & Letters Daily]

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