Monday, September 14, 2009

Dipolma* (for Diplomat, etc.)

I'm not sure how to put this tactfully, but there seem to be about a dozen occurrences of Dipolma*—typos for words like diplomat and diplomacy—in the OhioLINK database today. In any case, our man of the hour is the slightly smug subject of a 1999 book by Donald Gillies called Radical Diplomat: The Life of Archibald Clark Kerr, Lord Inverchapel, 1882-1951. Kerr was the British ambassador to Moscow during World War II and a leftist thought by some to be a Communist sympathizer on account of his "remarkable" relationship with Stalin. However, no hint of scandal could possibly top for sheer notoriety this hysterical note he wrote to a Lord Pembroke in 1943:

My Dear Reggie,

In these dark days man tends to look for little shafts of light that spill from Heaven. My days are probably darker than yours, and I need, my God I do, all the light I can get. But I am a decent fellow, and I do not want to be mean and selfish about what little brightness is shed upon me from time to time. So I propose to share with you a tiny flash that has illuminated my sombre life and tell you that God has given me a new Turkish colleague whose card tells me that he is called Mustapha Kunt.

We all feel like that, Reggie, now and then, especially when Spring is upon us, but few of us would care to put it on our cards. It takes a Turk to do that.

Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr
H.M. Ambassador

(Portrait of Archibald Kerr, courtesy of Flickr. Flickr? I hardly know her. Eh, Archie? Or does it take a Clerk to do that?)

Carol Reid

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