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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“The people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally.”

Saki (aka Hector Munro). I just liked this quotation. Yes, it has nothing really to do with anything current, which for my mental balance is a blessing. If anyone needs a mental health break from the Zombie Apocalypse, I recommend all of Saki’s stories.

13 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Clovis Sangrail

    They are excellent (well, I would say that, wouldn’t I).

  • John Lewis

    The lockdown is starting to take its toll on me. Noting the tone and broad subject of the quote I initially read the author’s name as Taki rather than Saki.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    An understandable error!

  • NickM

    Very true about Crete – also Cyprus and Malta. Bugger – just reminded me of holidays 🙁

  • Natalie Solent

    Saki is a wry swine.

    (I’d like to claim that it was me that coined that, but it wasn’t.)

  • Mr Ed

    My Grandad, in the Eighth Army, had a brief stay in Crete during WW2, events being what they were, he told me that he was a hard pressed to see anything, but he managed a minor tour.

  • I’ve also heard that quote used for the Balkans. Its relevance, like “It’s a pity they can’t both lose,” moves from place to place depending upon the times and peoples involved.

  • Paul Marks

    I suspect that Crete will have a better (or at least – less bad) future than we will.

    People on Crete will not freeze (although it can get cold there on winter nights) – and they will be able to feed themselves. If things go wrong here, and they very well might, we will not be able to say the same.

  • Natalie Solent

    Paul Marks writes, “I suspect that Crete will have a better (or at least – less bad) future than we will.”

    Maybe, but the authorities there are even more fond of imposing Covid-related rules than the gang in Westminster. My neighbours have family there. They said that during the last surge, anyone wishing to go on a walk had to text the government to ask for a time slot. They could not leave the house until one had been granted. And if I remember rightly it only lasted half an hour.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    My childhood home was only about three hundred yards from the villa where the young Saki was brought up by his aunts some ninety years beforehand, a proximity which prompted me to discover his writing early in life. Saki has an elegant economy of phrasing which can imbue a mere couple of words with a whole hinterland of meaning. Consider the introduction to ‘The Storyteller’

    ‘It was a hot afternoon, and the railway carriage was correspondingly sultry, and the next stop was at Templecombe, nearly an hour ahead. The occupants of the carriage were a small girl, and a smaller girl, and a small boy. An aunt belonging to the children occupied one corner seat, and the further corner seat on the opposite side was occupied by a bachelor who was a stranger to their party, but the small girls and the small boy emphatically occupied the compartment. Both the aunt and the children were conversational in a limited, persistent way, reminding one of the attentions of a housefly that refuses to be discouraged. Most of the aunt’s remarks seemed to begin with “Don’t,” and nearly all of the children’s remarks began with “Why?” The bachelor said nothing out loud.’

    It’s those last two words that set up the whole story. In them, one can glimpse an entire universe of bitten tongues, stifled retorts and barely repressed exasperation.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I am curious- how smart are Cretans? I ask because ‘Cretan’ is an insult about intelligence, and has been for 2 millenia. St. Paul commented that even Cretans thought of their country-men as being stupid, and slow/special. Are they ‘special’, or do we still think so because of the writings of St.Paul?

  • Mr Ed

    Nicholas, I think that you might be conflating Cretans with the Ramones classic song that gets remarkably little airplay these days Cretin Hop.

  • Marius

    RE: Saki. The Unrest Cure is my favourite, I think.