Monday, August 25, 2008

The Churchill Series - Aug. 25, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

As reported by John Derbyshire in his July 28, 2004 National Review essay "Oh, The Songs."

On the evening following the signing of the Atlantic Charter, Winston Churchill hosted a dinner party in honor of President Roosevelt on board H.M.S. Prince of Wales.

At one point in the proceedings, the two men fell into heated argument—not about the future shape of the world or the intentions of Stalin, but over whether the line - "In Bangkok at twelve o'clock they foam at the mouth and run" - comes at the end of the first refrain in Noël Coward's song or the second.

Hard to imagine any such exchange between present-day politicians. And those of the next generation will presumably have spent their formative years listening to gangsta rap.

Roosevelt said the second, and he was right. When Churchill was told this, he muttered: "Britain can take it."