Friday, November 04, 2011

George Hook

The great language of Yiddish has many beautiful words. “Zaftig” is the word for a beautiful woman who is, in Oscar Hammerstein II’s phrase, broad where a broad should be broad. Isn’t it fantastic? It’s a word that’s inherently delightful to say out loud, just for the joy of saying it.

“Chutzpah” is another one of those words. It means gall, or cheek, or nerve. It was exemplified by a man known to your correspondent in more dissolute days who was getting grief in the Dole Office at Augustine Street, Galway.

He claimed he was skint. The lady behind the hatch doubted the bone fides of his attempts to find work and, God bless her, she mightn’t have been far wrong. She demanded proof from my friend that he’d tried to find work in the next period or else his dole was getting cut.

My friend said he would certainly try to find work, but only if Rialtas na hÉireann, as represented by the Galway dole office, would provide him with stamps necessary to post letters of application in a pre-internet age. He could not buy stamps himself being, as we said at the start, skint.

Getting the dole office to buy your stamps is chutzpah. It’s a fantastic word, and a quality that is 98% galling but 2% a cause for admiration, for having the sheer neck to go for it.

Chutzpah does not even begin to describe two tweets from Mr George Hook last night. They are the first two in this screen shot:

Aren’t they astonishing? “Hook controversial by conviction; Dunphy by opportunism.” Indeed. Quite. Of course.

For those equally traumatised as your correspondent, help is at hand. The Phoenix Magazine printed a story on September 23rd about George and his adventures with Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V in a Rugby World Cup preview piece for the Indo. I’ve taken the liberty of scanning it – just click the image below and it should rise to legible and hilarious detail.

In the States, you get the road for doing that. But we’re currently redefining what we consider journalism here, aren’t we?