Monday, October 15, 2007

Personal Asides: The “T” is Silent…Nobel Nominees Who Were Passed up by Oslo Which Picked Al Gore…No. 1 Loser from Ward 2-- Too Big to Be Bothered by Media…No. 1 Winner from Ward 49--Never Too Busy to Accommodate.

Margot Asquith.

Friday, Catholic Citizens of Illinois, hosted Vicountess Clare Asquith, a Shakespeare scholar who has written a book alleging that the Bard was a Catholic who was conveying his displeasure with Elizabethan anti-Catholic persecution through a series of codes, “Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare.” . She spoke to us at the invitation of Joe Morris (no Catholic but an observant Jew whose appreciation of the mutual heritage of Judeo-Christianity is legendary and to whom CCI gives its heartfelt thanks).

Whether she is right on all of the citations she made, the theory is intriguing…but not more than the story she told of her husband’s great grandmother on dining with actress Jean Harlow (1911-1937). She was Margot Asquith, wife of the late British prime minister Herbert Henry Asquith who served for a time during World War I. Sometime in the 1930s, Margot Asquith was introduced to platinum blonde screen star Jean Harlow, the first great blonde bombshell merchandised as a sex object by Louis B. Mayer (whom Marilyn Monroe patterned herself after). Harlow made her success in Hollywood the old-fashioned way, conducting countless affairs with important men that pushed her to top stardom…a history that Vicountess Asquith knew and despised.

When they were dining in London, Harlow repeatedly called Asquith by her first name—and mispronouncing it: MargoT.

Whereupon Vicountess Asquith corrected her with these words: “No, no, my dear. The `t’ is silent as in `Harlow.’”

Probably apocryphal but isn’t it terrific?

I gave the book a pretty good read and I must say, despite the charm of Vicountess Asquith, I think she has stretched quite a good deal to make her point—which I am not sure was made. Some examples: Shakespeare never mentions monks but does mention Friars and always positively, following the counter-Reformation line. She cites his mention of Hercules who fought the many-headed hydra, mentioning that the Catholic church in England had to fight many heresies, figuring that this was Shakespeare’s subliminal intent to convey.

Sorry—I’m no Shakespearean scholar but emotionally I’d like to buy it but she made an interesting presentation anyhow.

Those Who Were Passed Up.

“The Wall Street Journal” editorial of Saturday-Sunday made a devastating comment on the Al Gore selection as winner of the Nobel Peace prize without evening mentioning his name. It simply listed these people as among those who were considered. Look at their credentials and tell me if you think the Nobel prize people weren’t using a wee bit of politics in the Gore selection…as they did a few years ago in picking one of the worst ex-presidents of the United States for the same honor—Jimmy Carter. Here are some of the competitors to Al Gore:

Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were arrested and beaten by police while picketing peacefully the tyrant dictator Robert Mugabe.

Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Viethnam arrested this year and sentenced to eight years in prison for helping the pro-democracy group Block 8406.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe who has fought tirelessly to end the violence perpetrated by left-wing terrorists and drug lords in his country.

Garry Kasparov the chess genius and several hundred Russians who were arrested in April and are continually harassed for resisting President Putin’s excursion toward authoritarian rule.

Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saskashvili for resisting the efforts of the Kremlin to snuff out the peaceful “color” revolutions they led in Ukraine and Georgia.

Britain’s Tony Blair and Ireland’s Bertie Ahern and the voters of Northern Ireland who last March broke with decades of violence and hatred to establish joint Catholic-Protestant rule in Northern Ireland.

These and more. A plebiscite: now do you think Al Gore was the right choice? I’ll register my opinion here: I think Oslo’s choice has made the Nobel prize appear ridiculous. The only thing more ridiculous would have been to choose George Ryan. But then there’s always next year.

Loser No. 1.

No one…least of all me…wants to see the media coddled, cuddled and patronized—but there is such a thing as boorishness in handling and the winner of today’s World Cup has nobly acquitted himself.

Last Monday I bumped into Alderman Bob Fioretti at Gene & Georgetti’s. Asked him very humbly if he would consider being a guest on my WLS-AM show. He said he’d consider it.

The next day—Tuesday--I called him. With deferentiality.

He: “What’re you calling me here for! I’ve got a meeting going on here. Call my scheduling assistant.” He gave me the number. Click. Buzzz.

I called her.

She: “Next Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at 190 N. State? He’s free at that time. I’ll call you back and confirm.”

No call back.

So I call her the next day. Wednesday.

She: “We’re very busy here. Very busy. I haven’t been able to get him to focus on it. No one understands how busy we are here. Very busy”

Me: Never mind, thank you, ma’am.

This is for all of you to know that Bob Fioretti is a very important man and very-very busy. So busy he is discomfited when he gets a call. So busy that his scheduling assistant is also very-very busy.

Winner No. 1.

So I called Joe Moore (42nd) who answers his own cell phone.

He: “Sure, Tom, I’ll be glad to be on.”

You and I seldom agree, Joe—but you’re the best. From your admirer


  1. "Busy" is the perfect excuse that never gets questioned. I think it's important for Bob Fioretti to sit in front of your mike for an hour on a Sunday evening. His victory over Haithcock, who was Daley-appointed and had her husband and daughter on the payroll, was a real boon to the city. It's time to take out Daley one alderman at a time.

    Brendan Reilly is another new alderman who is famously opposing Daley. And he was a great guest on your show.

    Why wouldn't he even respond to your invitation? Either he has a time-management problem or he's rude. Either way, it's hard to be impressed.

  2. Hopefully, the freshman Alderman will come to his senses sometime soon. If he wants to constantly complain that he is "busy, busy," Robert Fioretti may someday be mistaken for former State Representative Anthony "Busy, Busy" DeTolve of the notorious West Side Bloc.

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