Etonians, Oxfordians, a Song

by Jay Nordlinger

And when I say “Oxfordians,” I don’t mean people who don’t think Shakespeare was Shakespeare. In Impromptus today, I comment on the Thai prime minister, the felicitously named Abhisit Vejjajiva. His English name is Mark (which his political foes in Thailand insist on calling him). Born in Newcastle, the future PM went to Eton and Oxford. Last year, David Pryce-Jones pointed out that the world now has two prime ministers who went to Eton and Oxford: Abhisit and David Cameron.

Who else went to those schools? DP-J. I once heard him say, “I emerged from Eton and Oxford a perfectly nasty little leftist.” I doubt P-J was ever a nasty anything. Anyway, he overcame his education nicely.

By the way, in my column, I hail Kathleen Ferrier’s recording of “Come You Not from Newcastle” (the easiest thing in the world to hail). A reader writes, “I can save you a lot of time when you’re writing about ‘best recordings.’ If Ferrier did it, it’s the best.” Well, that is not a rule: but a guideline, for sure.

(Let me remind you of Ghost Busters: “I make it a rule never to get involved with possessed people. [Foreplay, or whatever the proper word is.] Actually, it’s more of a guideline than a rule.”)


UPDATE/CORRECTION: Dan Foster reminds me that the correct term is, not “Oxfordian,” but “Oxonian.” To quote my hero from Springfield: D’oh!

UPDATE II: Another colleague, Rick Brookhiser, brings up another Etonian/Oxonian: Bertie Wooster.

Wooster’s college at Oxford was Magdalen — same as DP-J’s. And now, this graduate of Pattengill Elementary in Ann Arbor is signing off . . .

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