Friday, October 06, 2006

A Ride with the Queen

On Fox News tonight, I listened to an interview with former Secretary of State, James Baker. Baker related an anecdote about President Reagan's state visit to Great Britain. Queen Elizabeth II hosted the Reagans at Windsor Castle. As both were avid horse-people, aides arranged a short, private ride. Far removed from reporters, the riders trotted up a nearby hill. Queen Elizabeth's horse, shall we say, was suffering from gas and emitted several short bursts, as only horses can do. The Queen turned to President Reagan and said, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" The President never batted an eye and replied, "that's quite alright, Your Majesty. I thought it was the horse."

6 comments:

BobMac said...

How astonishingly prescient of Mr. Patrick O'Brian to use exactly the same anecdote in a book published some years previously.

John said...

I didn't say that this was the first time the story had been told. But it was the first time that I heard it. And it is still funny, no matter who told it first.

BobMac said...

I am led to wonder why Mr. Baker would tell this story about historical persons, one of whom is still living. The fact that the story was available in published form SOME YEARS BEFORE THE TRIP IN QUESTION makes the truthfulness of Mr. Baker's version quite suspect. What it implies for the truthfulness of other statements Mr. Baker has made, I will not delve into at the moment; others have done so long before me, and in more devastating detail than I care to be bothered with.

I come from one of the more old fashioned families in one of the more old fashioned parts of the world, where distinction was made between fiction and non-fiction. In my world, stuff about made-up people is fiction. Stuff about real people is non-fiction. Authors who occasionally put real people in fictional circumstances, like Susan Howatch, or fictional people in real cicumstances, like P.C. Wren and George MacDonald Fraser, are excruciatingly careful to distinguish between the fictional and non-fictional parts of the story.

I daresay that I'm hopelessly behind the times, and badly out of touch with current trends in political fashion, but telling stories that never happened about people who actually existed is not quite proper behaviour in a gentleman.

I daresay that Mr. Baker does not care whether I consider him a gentleman.

Fortunate for him, I guess.

John said...

I think I see the problem, here. Apparently, I had the termerity to quote from James Baker, as seen on FoxNews, no less. Horrors! I can assure you that I do not carry water for either. I also claim descent from a decidedly
"old fashioned family," though it would be impolite to bore you with the details.

BobMac said...

Apparently I've been too subtle up to now.

Mr. Baker lied. He lied gratuitously. He lied about actual, real people. He knew he was lying. He knew that his lie was easily detectable.

You gleefully repeated the lie. (and no, it wasn't particularly funny to begin with.

John said...

Well, this is tiresome. And no, you are not as subtle as you suppose. I am not opposed to argumentation, but prefer to save it for matters of substance.