Saturday, September 05, 2009

From an age of more elevated political discourse

Being a firm believer in both holding grudges and taking a creative approach to avenging personal wrongs, I enjoyed this passage from Hilary Mantel's LRB review of David Lawday's new biography of George-Jacques Danton:

His childhood was rural but eventful. Encounters with livestock left him broken-nosed, with a gash from a bull’s horn across his lips; smallpox left him scarred; he was tall, and grew burly if not obese. His ugliness was not of the craggy kind: ‘His bulbous cheeks,’ Lawday says, ‘gave him the look of an enormous cherub.’ To his political opponent Vadier, during the Terror, he was a turbot farci, a huge fish to be gutted. Danton’s riposte embodied all his smooth elegance: ‘I’ll eat his brains and use his skull to shit in.’

I'm sure it sounded even more smoothly elegant in French.

Nobody fucks with the Danton.

(Except, of course, a few years later, one Robespierre, but you can't win 'em all.)

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