Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Boris Johnson Speaks, and It Isn’t All Greek to Me

 

On Christmas Eve, Powerline Blog pointed to Boris Johnson reciting a long passage from the Iliad, in ancient Greek, not as a schoolboy might, but as the great storyteller. This should not have been much of a surprise, given other appearances over the past few years by the man who is now Prime Minister. What follows is a Boris Johnson starter sampler.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson turned to reciting the Iliad in the course of a conversation with the Australian Broadcasting Company’s Annabel Crabb at the Melbourne Writers Festival this past July.

That reminded me of this bit of brilliance, explaining how Winston Churchill spoke and why it had such power:

Boris Johnson is all for looking to Greek, not Roman civilization, as a source of inspiration for our own polities:

In 2014, while Lord Mayor of London, Johnson held forth on civilization with a glass of wine in one hand throughout: “We should have been ruthless about enforcing assimilation, but it is now too late.”

That is enough for a start. Browse as you like, with or without the suggestions of Al Gorithm. If you find something particularly good, among Boris Johnson’s years of public communications, please drop a link in the comment section below.

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  1. Vectorman Thatcher

    Leftists, who imply that conservatives are stupid, are shocked when they actually allow conservatives to speak freely.

    • #1
    • December 26, 2019, at 3:13 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  2. Zafar Member

    Sing in Boris, o muse….

    • #2
    • December 26, 2019, at 5:17 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. Stad Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown: On Christmas Eve, Powerline Blog pointed to Boris Johnson reciting a long passage from the Iliad, in ancient Greek

    Yeah, right. The next thing you’re going to tell me is Trump knows how to read . . .

    • #3
    • December 26, 2019, at 5:38 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Boris Johnson is really quite amazing intellectually while maintaining a sense of humor that reaches people from all levels of education. I will look forward to his interaction with Donald J…Trump is the epitome of using the small Anglo-Saxon words to generate his larger meaning. I thought it interesting the other day when someone speaking of a graduate from Wharton School (of economics) as having a very special and impressive education. As one can imagine, they weren’t describing President Trump, also a graduate of that institution. No one could give him that much credit. Trump may not use flowery speech, but he is an excellent communicator and very funny. We may see another wonderful relationship developing between the Brits and the Americans. How nice would that be!

    • #4
    • December 26, 2019, at 8:24 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. colleenb Member
    colleenb Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I heard in one of the interviews of Andrew Roberts (maybe Uncommon Knowledge?) about Churchill’s use of the Anglo-Saxon rather than later Norman additions to the English language in his wartime speeches. Fascinating analysis by Mr. Johnson. Will be listening to the other clips too when I have more time. Thanks for this compilation @cliffordbrown

    • #5
    • December 26, 2019, at 8:32 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. Stad Thatcher

    cdor (View Comment):
    I will look forward to his interaction with Donald J…Trump

    We could have another Reagan-Thatcher thing going here. Now, if only we had a John-Paul II equivalent . . .

    • #6
    • December 26, 2019, at 8:56 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. Vectorman Thatcher

    Stad (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    I will look forward to his interaction with Donald J…Trump

    We could have another Reagan-Thatcher thing going here. Now, if only we had a John-Paul II equivalent . . .

    You beat me to saying this…

    • #7
    • December 26, 2019, at 9:05 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Stad Thatcher

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    I will look forward to his interaction with Donald J…Trump

    We could have another Reagan-Thatcher thing going here. Now, if only we had a John-Paul II equivalent . . .

    You beat me to saying this…

    Sorry, I’ll try to think slower . . .

    • #8
    • December 26, 2019, at 9:09 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Manny Member

    Wow, this was really impressive. They say Boris is an English version of Donald Trump. Perhaps they have policy similarities but no way are they personality similar. Anyone that can recite Homer from memory is OK with me! I didn’t know this about Boris. You have made him totally endearing to me. 

    A thousand likes to this post Cliff! 

    • #9
    • December 26, 2019, at 2:39 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Manny Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    I will look forward to his interaction with Donald J…Trump

    We could have another Reagan-Thatcher thing going here. Now, if only we had a John-Paul II equivalent . . .

    Unfortunately we’re stuck with Frances.

    • #10
    • December 26, 2019, at 2:39 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Manny (View Comment):

    Wow, this was really impressive. They say Boris is an English version of Donald Trump. Perhaps they have policy similarities but no way are they personality similar. Anyone that can recite Homer from memory is OK with me! I didn’t know this about Boris. You have made him totally endearing to me.

    A thousand likes to this post Cliff!

    Thanks. I found a bit of “studying game film” in the form of YouTube videos from various official and unofficial sources to be a Christmas treat. Hearing and watching PM Johnson is fun for some of the same reasons that watching great tap-dancers brings joy.

    • #11
    • December 26, 2019, at 4:36 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    To see PM Johnson applying that learning and observation to governance now, see his Chanukah message and his Christmas message

    • #12
    • December 26, 2019, at 5:15 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Skyler Coolidge

    I’ve always felt cheated in my education because I was never taught ancient Greek or even Latin. It’s a travesty that Columbia, Dewey and many others conspired to remove that from public education, to the protests of parents. Public schools are the antithesis of education.

    • #13
    • December 27, 2019, at 8:22 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. colleenb Member
    colleenb Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Congrats @cliffordbrown on the link to Powerline!! Great way to end 2019.

    • #14
    • December 28, 2019, at 1:56 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Congrats @cliffordbrown on the link to Powerline!! Great way to end 2019.

    A daily stop for me, both for their own reporting and analysis and for the carefully curated links.

    • #15
    • December 28, 2019, at 4:07 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Steve C. Member

    colleenb (View Comment):

    I heard in one of the interviews of Andrew Roberts (maybe Uncommon Knowledge?) about Churchill’s use of the Anglo-Saxon rather than later Norman additions to the English language in his wartime speeches. Fascinating analysis by Mr. Johnson. Will be listening to the other clips too when I have more time. Thanks for this compilation @cliffordbrown!

    Cribbed from the great man himself. Churchill, on many occasions, emphasized the value of short simple Anglo Saxon words.

    Unlike his peers, Churchill could not fathom the intricacies of Latin. He was grouped with the slow learners. Doomed to the study of English. 

    • #16
    • December 28, 2019, at 7:20 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Jim George Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Congrats @cliffordbrown on the link to Powerline!! Great way to end 2019.

    A daily stop for me, both for their own reporting and analysis and for the carefully curated links.

    What a treasure! Words fail me — obviously a malady from which the Prime Minister has never suffered — in describing my appreciation for this compilation of videos of this remarkable, to say the least, man. I am now just getting into the Mary Beard portion of the Rome v. Greece debate in Westminster and am hanging on every word. If I have any regret, it is that the lack of close captioning makes it difficult at times to understand Johnson’s mellifluous diction, which I have seen described as “plummy” somewhere. 

    By the way, Powerline is one of my first 3-4 stops every morning and it made me proud to see Ricochet up there on their favorite links for the day! Congratulations!

    Thanks again, and Happy New Year to all,

    Sincerely, Jim.

    • #17
    • December 29, 2019, at 12:33 PM PST
    • 3 likes