Monday 1 February 2016

Received Ideas 11

Some more that didn't get into the book.

DUBLIN Dutch gables were brought to the city by Huguenots fleeing persecution in 1685.

DEUTSCHLAND UBER ALLES Written for the Nazis. (Written in the late 19th century.)

DOCTORS Always handing out antidepressants “like sweets”.

DRUGS We shouldn’t take them because pharmaceutical companies make too much money. And besides all drugs and natural remedies work as placebos – they work on the mind and the body then heals itself.

EDUCATION The old ways are the best (uniform, prefects, handwriting, regimentation, authority).

EDWARD VIII Weekend visitors to his Scottish country place Balmoral were weighed on arrival and on leaving to check that they had eaten heartily.

EELS Slither ashore and milk cows, according to Gunther Grass.

EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS Were grain stores, not tombs for pharaohs. (The story has been around since the Middle Ages.)

EMOJI Should be pronounced “emoshee” because it’s derived from “emotion”. (It’s derived from Chinese and Japanese words and is pronounced “emodzhee”.)

ETIQUETTE BOOKS Are all 50 years old because we don’t need them any more. (See the Web and its many dating advice sites. Also, etiquette books are all 50 years old because they have just come out of copyright and been reprinted.)

EYES They are the windows of the soul. Widely set eyes are a sign of vulgarity, or beauty. Murderers have a peculiarly penetrating gaze.

FEMINISM Puts all men in the dock. We don’t need it because I’m a man and I treat women right.

FEMINISTS Want men to apologise for being men.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS Are always wrong/right.

FISH Have a memory of seven seconds.

FLU VACCINATIONS Doctors do too many because they get paid.

FOREIGN AID All goes to middlemen. “To buy Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it that goes with most of the foreign aid.” (Godfrey Bloom, MEP 2013 Aug)

FREAKS A film featuring genuine circus freaks ended director Tod Browning’s career. (He continued to make horror films until 1939, and then retired, says the Fortean Times.)

FRENCH CLOCKS for sale have their hands set at 10 to 10 because that’s the moment Louis XVI was beheaded. (Or is it to frame the maker’s name?)

FRIDAY THE 13TH  Day of the Knights Templar massacre in 1307.

FROGS “Toads and frogs burst if you spit on them.” (Pliny the Elder)

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. Etiquette books - I wrote one in the early 90s and did an updated one in the early 2000s. I pitched it that etiquette books told you about tipping the host's servants after the weekend, whereas modern people really wanted to know whether they should fold up the sofabed in the living room themselves.