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Features

February 2013

"WE MUST BE FUNNY!!!!!!"

by Robert Messenger

On the letters of P. G. Wodehouse.


P. G. Wodehouse

So wrote P. G. Wodehouse to Guy Bolton in 1952 as they planned a joint book of reminiscences of the theatrical world of the 1920s. “I think we shall have to let truth go to the wall if it interferes with entertainment. And we must sternly suppress any story that hasn’t a snapper at the finish. . . . Even if we have to invent every line of the thing, we must have entertainment.” Their book, Bring on the Girls: The Improbable Story of Our Life in Musical Comedy, With Pictures to Prove It, is a sprightly account of the birth of the modern musical by two men at its center. Some of the stories are somewhat exaggerated, which is a great worry to Wodehouse’s biographers. The concern is more than a bit overblown, for Wodehouse and Bol ...

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Robert Messenger is the Books Editor of the Wall Street Journal.


more from this author

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 February 2013, on page 17

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

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On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll, www.eddriscoll.com.


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