Monday, July 19, 2010

On suffering fools (gladly or otherwise)

After encountering it for what I swear must be the third or fourth time in as many days I am beginning to develop a deep aversion for the phrase 'He was not one to suffer fools gladly' along with it's even more clich├ęd variant '... never one to suffer fools gladly.'

It's that 'gladly' that gets me; I'd be quite content with a straightforward refusal to suffer fools full-stop; I'd find that perfectly reasonable - even though personally speaking I have nothing against them (fools that is) but the 'gladly' suggests that the person in question is quite prepared to suffer fools 'through gritted teeth' or with 'smouldering resentment' or suchlike - just not with anything approaching normal human decency.

The consequence is that, while I appreciate that the phrase is customarily trotted out to enhance a person's reputation, for me it has entirely the opposite effect - suggesting, instead, a somewhat mean-minded and ultimately insecure character.

No, when it comes to choosing which categories of people we might be unwilling to suffer - gladly or in any other way - I'll opt for the self-satisfied, intolerant bigots every time.

Leave the fools alone - they're just fine.

1 comment:

  1. Daggurz6:43 pm

    Often used to put a + spin on someone who is short tempered, sharp & perhaps grumpy.