Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Beating the ambassador

Every once in a while, while innocently browsing the net, you comes across something you really didn't expect:

When Evelyn Waugh went to Ethiopia in 1936, his first call was on the British Ambassador. Waugh recorded the event in his diary as follows:

Arrived Addis 4 p.m. Dinner with British mission. Asked me to beat him.

This was from the middle of a discussion of flogging in British public schools. Oh, dear.

BTW, Evelyn Waugh was a British novelist, who flourished in the 20's through the 50's. He lived the life of a rakehell in his youth, but converted to Roman Catholicism in his 20's, IIRC. His novels, both before and after his conversion, are chiefly humorous, but it's a very black humor. His most famous novel is probably his most serious, Brideshead Revisited, which was made into a PBS TV series about 15 years ago. It's available on VHS, not on DVD yet. It's set in decaying Edwardian England. It's romantic and decadent and lush, and if you're into romantic decadent lush British-y PBS stuff, you might like it.

Me, I prefer his more-than-slightly-insane novel of Hollywood, The Loved One, very dark, very comic, very strange. Waugh apparently worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter for a while, and the novel represents his impressions of the place. It keeps good company with other nightmare visions of Hollywood, such as Nathaniel West's Day of the Locust. Damn. Aren't there any upbeat Hollywood novels? Surely someone must like the place!
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