Dude: I just laid a Reith

j4 asks for a word that adequately describes:

the feeling you get when you’ve done something really badly (and taken a ridiculously long time over it) and then the person you did it for praises you and/or expresses gratitude, quite sincerely, apparently without realising how hopelessly bad it is

I couldn’t oblige with just one word, suggesting a phrase instead: “delivering a Reith lecture.” But then I do have previous comedy convictions along these lines. I described Wole Soyinka’s attempts in 2004 as “Spot Gets The Fear bedtime stories,” which seemed like comic gold at the time. Well, it might not be Shakespeare, as I always say, but at least it scans.

At this year’s lectures the first question from the floor was from a woman of the Spicey persuasion; it might give you some idea of the content that preceded her that her head wasn’t actually spinning round on her neck like a fly-ball governor. There was also someone defending Sachs in this week’s Private Eye, but it was a seventeen-year-old girl. I don’t wish to look down on the nation’s youth, but if you judged the intellectual content of pedagogy based on how much teenagers will get all effervescent over it, mathematics would be considered vapid, media studies would take precedence over classics and history, and Dawkins would be considered very bright indeed.

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