The Corner


The Eyes Have It, and Other Comments

Actress Elizabeth Taylor speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, April 23, 1987. (Kimimasa Mayama / Reuters)

Impromptus today begins with the classics — Homer, Virgil, and those other stiffs. Some people want them forgotten altogether. I have much to say (and say some of it in my column). Other topics include Hong Kong, the Brzezinski family, and Boris Johnson.

A column last week began with the January 6 rioters and the defense that some of them are using: “I meant no harm. I was just caught up in the crowd.” I cited Anthony Daniels, the writer who also works under the name Theodore Dalrymple. For years, he served as a psychiatrist in a prison. I have heard him say, “I often met people who had fallen in with the wrong crowd. Strangely, I never met the wrong crowd.”

A reader of ours writes,

One thing I learned as a teacher is that “the wrong crowd” is made up exclusively of “other people’s kids.” “Other people’s kids” were in need of a strict dress code and discipline, and something should be done about them.

In the Army, “the wrong crowd” is always “anyone outside of our unit.”

In that same column, I told a story about John Warner, the late Virginia senator, and his onetime wife Elizabeth Taylor. A reader writes in with another one:

When I first worked in the Senate, Warner had the office across the hall in Russell. Two of the guys I worked with were ladies’ men, and they were also wise guys who told Elizabeth Taylor jokes. They mocked her because she was about to turn 50 (if you can believe it).

One day, she happened to get on the elevator with them, on the way up to see her husband at work. She asked them if they happened to know where Senator Warner’s office was, and thanked them when they showed her. I wasn’t there, but I saw them immediately after.

They were both sitting in the front office, literally dazzled. Finally one of them said, “Her eyes — they really are violet.”

FYI, I once asked Pat Buckley, “Who is the most beautiful woman you have ever seen?” (She had seen many — including Garbo — and was one.) She answered, quickly and decisively, “Elizabeth Taylor.” She added, “There was nothing like those eyes.”

One more: I published a letter from an Israeli who said that, after a long pandemic, he was hugely looking forward to seeing The Sound of Music in Jerusalem. Another Israeli reader writes,


The Sound of Music was postponed, on account of the war. It has been rescheduled for two weeks from now. Tonight, Aida! Elton John version. Who knew?

Thanks to one and all for writing, and reading. Again, today’s Impromptus is here.


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