Sunday, November 4, 2007

Politician's Address to Prisoners

4 November 2007

Silly Derrick, sensible Mike, sorry Bruce

Dawn Ritch, Columnist

[...] Derrick Smith really is a silly bird, too timid to get into trouble. No amount of make-up or ministerial office can mask that fact. He ought not to be a politician, much less Minister of National Security. But as a friend of mine, who has no regard for politicians has said to me, "What else is he suited for?"

In what may be an apocryphal story going the rounds, the new Minister of National Security addressed the inmates at the prisons when he first took office. He is said to have told the assembled population, "Nice to see so many of you here." [...]

The New Yorker, 24 Feb. 1945, p. 68.


[A 1941 anecdote: New York Governor Al Smith supposedly addressed prisoners at Sing Sing as "Fellow citizens," tried to correct himself by calling them "Fellow convicts," then said, "I'm glad to see so many of you here." In 1944 Lester Hunt, Governor of Wyoming, claimed he had once made the same verbal gaffes while making an official visit to a penitentiary.]