Friday, November 09, 2007

Margaret Thatcher -- The (Funny) Iron Lady

Peggy Noonan recently wrote a column comparing the way Hillary Clinton reacts to certain events with the way other strong-willed women of history responded. I had to share this short excerpt which relates a story about Margaret Thatcher:

The story as I was told it is that in the early years of her prime ministership, Margaret Thatcher held a meeting with her aides and staff, all of whom were dominated by her, even awed. When it was over she invited her cabinet chiefs to join her at dinner in a nearby restaurant. They went, arrayed themselves around the table, jockeyed for her attention. A young waiter came and asked if they'd like to hear the specials. Mrs. Thatcher said, "I will have beef."

Yes, said the waiter. "And the vegetables?"

"They will have beef too."

I'm not sure if it's a requirement or not, but it seems that some British prime ministers have a propensity towards dry -- but hysterical -- humor. Churchill was notorious for it; here are two of my favorites:

1. (It turns out that this one actually dates back to something printed in the Chicago Tribune in 1900 and didn't originate with Churchill at all, but it's still humorous.)

Lady Astor: "If I were married to you, I'd put poison in your coffee."
Churchill: "If I were married to you, I'd drink it."

2. To Liverpool socialist MP Bessie Braddock, who told him, "Winston, you're drunk.": "Bessie, you’re ugly. And tomorrow morning I’ll be sober, but you’ll still be ugly."


Sandie said...

I had heard a couple of them before, but they are funny.

Sandie said...

Where is Ron Pauls' support button? :) My dh like Rudy, but so far I really can't make up my mind on the front runners.

Dad said...

My favorite Churchill quote (on the eve of his 75th birthday): "I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."

Of course, all of us have memorable quotes of our own, right? Perhaps one day, one of my "descendants" will remember at least "something" I said!

Sarah R. said...

I always liked the story about the two girls who bet that they could get President Coolidge to say three words, and when one of them asked him about it, he said "you lose."

I also always liked this quote from Truman: "I never did give them hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."

Kansas Bob said...

I thought that Churchill's come back was a great one!

rdl said...

Too funny!!

ipanema said...

The Brit's way of telling a joke is like their grey weather, according my British colleagues over here. :)

It is even a wonder when they deliver it with a serious face. Not all of them though. :)

Those hilarious!