: [Fwd: Bullying, DWJ, and Harry Potter...], also fat and lit

Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk
Wed Feb 26 07:54:55 EST 2003





Robyn quoting I forget whom:

>>By the way, until a few years ago, at any rate, it was common for Whitehall
>>types and politicos to refer to people whom they regarded as reliable,
>>authoritative and competent as having 'bottom'. The metaphor is perhaps
>>ultimately a naval one - a ship that's unlikely to capsize, as it were - but
>>I only ever heard to applied to people who were a) men and b) fat.

Interesting.  To me (a Georgette Heyer fan) "bottom" means something like
courage (rashness?) or staying power.  Heyer's characters tend to use it as (or
as a metaphor from) a boxing term - willingness to go in and slog it out?
Perhaps it entered boxing from the maritime use.

I sometimes borrow a phrase from Heyer and say that people have "more bottom
than science".  I don't generally mean it as a compliment!

> Did they also have ass ears? (perhaps it was Bottom, not bottom)

Hey!  Perhaps it's Shakespeare who started the Americans' confusion of ass with
arse? ;-)

On the subject of fat, though, Alan Dean Foster created an interesting heroine
for the Icerigger trilogy.  Colette (?sp) has some sort of metabolic disorder
that makes her fat and won't respond to any of the treatments available.  The
hero has to learn to see through the body to the girl underneath; this is helped
by her being the only female human he sees for most of the first book.  I'm not
sure she's wise to throw herself away on the first eligible young man she meets
who isn't a fortune hunter, though :-)

Philip.

PS last summer, at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, I saw a very good ballet version
of "Ein Sommernachtstraum".  Bottom got an ass's tail, Eeyore style (for Milne
fans.  Todd Reeve style for McCaffery fans).  It was wonderful to see him dance
with his tail dragging on the floor and not trip over it once!  FWIW the rude
mechanicals were in modern dress.  They found a hard hat with a lamp on it for
"this lanthorn is the moon"...





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