Monday, January 28, 2019

My final final final final post on Winston Churchill.

After almost a month of steady and voracious reading, I am almost through with Andrew Roberts' nearly 1,200-page one-volume biography of Winston Churchill. The book has won more awards than a 24-year-old digital art-director, so you can be sure it's well-worth reading. In addition it's been praised in the cheery fascist "Wall Street Journal," as one of 2018's ten best books, praised in the "Economist" as one of the best books of 2018 and lauded in the failing "New York Times" as a notable book of 2018.

If you have a month or a year to spare, I recommend the book highly. Even if you've read, as I have, dozens of books on Churchill and hundreds on World War II, Roberts' volume tells you something new about the man--and the era in which he lived--on almost every page.

You can order the book here.

I know there are legions of Churchill haters out there--for myriad legitimate reasons, most of which I agree with. However, you could make the case that he saved Western Civilization (in addition to world Jewry) from destruction. Had his small island nation not held out alone against Hitler, the Third Reich would have had its way with Russia, gained that massive nation's natural resources, then defeated the United Kingdom, and probably the United States, too. The world might today be just as Trumpian, but we would have arrived there sooner.

In addition to being a mighty political and military leader, Churchill was a prolific writer. For his many histories, biographies and speeches, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. Something to think about when we are ruled in this country by a president who can't even read.

In any event, I was reading about Churchill last night, when advertising popped into my head. As he was writing "Their Finest Hour," the second of his six-volume history of World War II, Churchill developed a way of labeling various drafts. It made me think of all the people in our business who label files and folders and the like, "final," final final," "final final final final final," and so on ad nauseam.

Churchill's system was a trifle more eloquent than the one most often used in our business. 

His last five versions were labeled: "Provisional Semi-Final," "Provisional Final," "Almost Final," "Final," and with both a respectful and a knowing tip of my Mac to my wonderful clients, "Subject to Full Freedom of Proof Correction."

BTW, last week I got two comments on my blog. When I was ill, one castigated me for having had two typos in one post. A second celebrated my illness by declaring that it was proof that I am human.

Let it hereby be stated, by me, that I am all too human. I am a lousy typist, a worse proofreader and exceedingly peripatetic, and therefore, given to lapses of concentration and meticulousness. 

I never use the word "final" in the labeling of anything I do. I am reminded that once Leonardo returned to a painting having left it 17 years earlier. He stared at the painting all-day and finally in the fading light, added one dab of ochre. He, like many of us, are always working on their craft. (Though, of course, I am closer to Sheldon Leonard than Leonardo.)

Who's Sheldon Leonard? You can see him in this clip, starting at around :20. The bowler-hatted pianist at the opening of the clip was the great Meade "Lux" Lewis, whose honky-tonk style was one of for the ages.

While I'm at it, a bit more Meade "Lux" Lewis, especially for those uninitiated in his artistry.
I'm not sure who the vocalist is, though it might be Jimmy Rushing.

No comments: