Saturday, July 13, 2002

Justin Ruffles… Licensed To Take the Piss

Some years ago whilst sitting in the gardens of a small Oxfordshire publisher enjoying one of many sunny lunchtimes, my venerable friend Dave aka Rave, an altogether brighter, and more successful chappy than I, but prone to a bit of pisstake began to recieve his daily dose, my particular gambit opened with "Rave, with all due respect..." to which the young raver retorted with, "With all due respect, yeah, a fucking licence to take the piss". Proving fundamentally that three years at Cambridge weren't wasted on him.

It wasn't that I was impressed by Dave's eloquence, but by the identification that "With all due respect" is a particularly useful licence to own. The key to the phrase is, of course, "all due", referring to the fact that respect is pending and that it will be delivered in full. The downfall is that what remains un qauntified is how much respect there is in the first place. It's like going into a pub and asking for a full glass of beer, handing over your money, then the barman pulling out a thimble filled to the brim. The pisstaker, like the barman, retains the knowledge on how much respect, or beer, is about to be given. The pisstakee expects more respect than the pisstaker is likely to give, so when the pisstake is delivered, with the respect still undefined, it is delivered with less respect than the pisstakee ever expected. This works particularly well with more subtle criticism, i.e. "With All Due Respect, I think you may be misguided" really means "The amount of respect I reserve for you equates to wiping shit off my shoe, and from what you've just said, proves you are not only shit off my shoe, but shit off my shoe that is wrong."


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