International Truth Day (Best of “Hubris”)

Michael House


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The Polemicist

By Michael House

Caption 2: "Round The Horn," Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Bill Pertwee, Douglas Smith and Betty Marsden.

“Round The Horn,” Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Bill Pertwee, Douglas Smith and Betty Marsden.

Michael House

LONDON England—(Weekly Hubris)—December 19, 2016—Not one of my readers in 20 (assuming I have 20) will know about the wonderful UK radio comedy show of the 1960’s and 70’s, Round the Horne.

Four very funny men and one very funny woman produced skits and sketches years ahead of their time. It was the first radio show to include gay humor: the censors didn’t stop it because they didn’t understand it.

One of the regular sketches was entitled “Kenneth Horne, Special Investigator.” He was called in to examine a terrifying new phenomenon—public figures who suddenly started telling the truth. It started with a judge at the Old Bailey letting a hooligan off with a caution with words to the effect: “Don’t worry, Mate. I often do the same sort of thing myself, but they can’t touch me for it, me being a judge.”

Eventually, a link is found: all the prominent figures involved have recently been patients at the Swiss clinic of the fiendish Oriental mastermind, Dr. Chu-en-Ginsberg, who has been injecting them with a truth serum, as part of his evil plan to take over the world.

I got to thinking—wouldn’t it be wonderful if our leaders were injected with a truth drug once a year, say on April 1st.

REUTERS: “At his yearly press conference, George W. Bush said that eveybody knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He had wanted to invade so he could show that he was a better man than his daddy, who screwed up the first invasion. His daddy had been a war hero, whereas he had cowered in Texas with his coke and his booze while better men died in Vietnam. So he had to prove to himself and to Daddy that he had real balls.

Also, he couldn’t allow a huge percentage of the world’s oil to remain in the hands of hostile towel-heads. Plus, when reconstruction came, he could put the business in the way of the chums who had financed his campaigns. It had worked out just fine. His election made Mamma proud and really pissed Jeb off. He was a two-term President, while daddy flunked out after one term.

Anyway, Dick told him to. The reason he had chosen Dick for his running-mate was so he would be safe from assassination. No one was going to kill him in order to hear the three grimmest words in the English language: “President Dick Cheney.”

AP NEWS, DATELINE PEKING: The Chinese Premier told reporters that the Chinese had invaded Tibet “because we could.” He said that the Middle Kingdom of China was the center of the world and all other states were tributaries. That had been the stance of all Chinese Emperors, and post-revolutionary leaders of China were emperors in all but name. He said “We had to spout the ideological claptrap of Marxist-Leninism in order the justify our power-grab in the 1930’s and 40’s. But now, the party is firmly in the saddle, we can ditch the Communist bullshit and get down to the task of enriching ourselves.” China had always called Tibet “the Western Treasure House,” and wanted the vast mineral reserves of the country. That was why they were moving Han settlers into Tibet in huge numbers—it was the same game Israel was playing in Palestine.

Asked whether the Chinese Communist Party had any legitimate right to rule China, let alone Tibet, he said, with a laugh “none at all. But, as Mao-Tse-Tung said, ‘Power grows out of the barrel of a gun.’ We are the masters now.” He cheerfully described Mao as the greatest mass-murderer of all time— “Ghengis Khan was an amateur by comparison,” he added.

Asked about the Dalai Lama, the Premier said: “The old fool has blown it.  We strung him along with talk of autonomy and negotiations, so that he dropped his demand for independence and said he’d settle for autonomy.  He couldn’t understand that we regard concession as a sign of weakness.  He has alienated younger Tibetans—divide and rule is our policy. We just wait till he dies and then choose our own successor. We will hold out the carrot of negotiations on autonomy and keep on stalling. We’re running rings round him.”

The Western nations, said the Premier, were not a problem. They were so desperate for trade with China that they would swallow anything, including the invasion of Taiwan. “We’ll choose our moment. There is no hurry.” Bush, Blair, Brown and Obama all raised human rights with him, first apologizing for mentioning it and telling him they had to be able to tell their people at home they’d raised the issue. He had told them to mind their own business and pointed out their own human rights violations. “That settled Bush’s hash. The idiot was lost for words.”

UPI, LONDON:  Gordon Brown said that he couldn’t understand why the Tories were still in business. “We do everything they would have done, and more,” he said. “We give big business everything it asks for, we screw the Unions and the poor, we let developers build pretty well how and where they like—what are the Conservatives FOR?”

Asked what he was proudest of during his time as Chancellor, Brown chose his last budget. Just before he sat down, he had cut 2 pence off income tax and had left Tory leader David Cameron red-faced and stammering. “The fool didn’t realize,” he chortled, “that by abolishing the 10 percent tax band, I had actually made poor people worse off. That was hilarious.” Didn’t he regret hitting the poor? “That’s politics. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

On the Iraq war, Brown said it was utterly stupid and misguided, but he had to sit tight in case he lost the right to succeed Blair. However, he had made sure his disapproval was known without actually saying anything. Once Blair had spoken to God and George W. Bush, no power on earth could have moved him. He said Blair was a liar and a psychopath, who actually believed his lies when he told them, a very useful political skill. And he was a brilliant actor, which is the main quality a politician needs.

Asked about the manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the European Union Treaty, and his refusal to hold one on the EU constitution, which European leaders said was essentially the same document, he said: “Do I look stupid? The voters would kick it out. We can’t have ordinary people sticking their noses into important international issues. So long as all three main parties support our membership of the EU, there’s not a damn thing the proles can do about it.”

He then launched into a chorus of the popular Socialist song: “The working class can kiss my ass; I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.”

DATELINE LAMBETH PALACE: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, was asked by our reporter to explain the crucifixion. “I don’t get it,” she said. “God allowed himself to be tortured and murdered for a sin committed by two imaginary ancestors thousands of years earlier, and the sin was . . . scrumping.” (Note for American readers: this means stealing apples.) “He didn’t do it himself, but since ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve,’ all children born are presumed to be apple-thieves. And you people call it ‘original sin.’ What’s that about?”

Dr. Williams laughed heartily. “Of course, no honest and rational person believes any of that sado-masochistic garbage,” he said. “But, believe me, there are millions who do. And they need leaders. It’s a nice, cushy life in the Church of England, if you play your cards right. The trick is to be a theologian, with expertise on how many angels can dance on the tip of a needle and other profound questions. Get a good degree from Oxbridge, get a college Fellowship, get appointed head of a theological seminary or to a college chaplaincy, keep your nose clean, publish the odd paper, nothing controversial, you understand, and sooner or later you’ll get made a bishop, preferably at some pretty place like Wells or Chester or Norwich.”

“Nice rent-free palace, chauffeur-driven car, seat in the House of Lords, good pension, and, in return, a couple of hours’ admin. a day and half-an-hour’s bullshit from the pulpit on Sundays. You get respect, good tables in restaurants, people call you My Lord, the Times prints your letters. It’s great!”

Your correspondent was shocked. “So it’s all a bogus sham?”

“Yes, of course. You do get people who start off believing that a man was born whose mother was a virgin and that he came back to life after being dead and buried for three days. But they usually come to realize what nonsense it is, though if they’ve any nous, they keep it to themselves. We make a lot of people happy, and keep them out of mischief. There are people who believe that the Earth is flat and the Moon made of green cheese. It does no harm.”

“But don’t let on. We’ve got a good thing going here”

In somewhat unrelated news . . . .


Dr. George Rekers, Baptist minister and anti-gay activist, board member of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.

Dr. Rekers had to make a 10-day trip to London and Madrid. He had recently had surgery and needed a companion to help him with his luggage.

He looked for an assistant on a website called, doubtless thinking it provided porters. An easy mistake to make. He found what he was looking for: a 20-year-old Puerto Rican called Geo.

Geo’s entry showed that he had all the qualities needed for a good porter. He described himself as “sensual,” “wild,” and “up for anything.” He was “versatile” and had “a nice ass.”  His talents included stripping and go-go dancing. He was willing and helpful: “I will do anything you say as long as you ask.”

Understandably, it never occurred to the (perhaps somewhat unworldly) Man of God, that Geo was a male prostitute. He only realized this halfway through the trip. He explained that, like Jesus Christ, he often spent time with sinners, in the hope of helping them. He had tried to persuade Geo to abandon “homosexual intercourse.”

Yet, this saintly man has been attacked as a hypocrite, on no better grounds than that when he and Geo emerged from the Miami airport, he was pushing a trolley with both men’s luggage. Obviously, he had recovered from his surgery. Some people will put a negative interpretation on anything.


Ted Haggard: in 2006, resigned as a leader of the National Association of Evangelicals after allegations that he had been frequenting a male prostitute for three years.

Ray Ashburn: California state senator and veteran opponent of gay rights, arrested for drunk-driving after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento this year.

Jimmy Swaggart: high-profile televangelist, exposed in 1988 for using prostitutes.

Pat Robertson: another televangelist and presidential candidate, said the Haiti earthquake was the result of Haiti’s “pact with the Devil.”

Matt Baker: Texas minister, convicted in 2009 of faking his wife’s suicide so he could pursue an affair with a member of his congregation.

Kent Hovind: creationist minister, sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2006, for faking bankruptcy and threatening tax investigators. He claimed his employees worked for God and, therefore, were exempt from taxes.

Jim Bakker, yet another televangelist, jailed in 1989 for fraud after stealing millions of dollars of church funds. He also used church funds to pay off his secretary after an affair, and ran a time-share scam.

God moves in mysterious ways.

Michael House

About Michael House

Michael House was born, of rural, peasant stock, in Somerset, England. He read law at Exeter College, Oxford and was elected President of the Oxford Union. In 1974, along with five colleagues, House started up a set of barristers' chambers in three little rooms in Lincoln's Inn, London, specializing in human rights and in representing the poor and dispossessed. The set now comprises 170 members and occupies a 17th-century building that was home to the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated (Spencer Perceval, 1812). In 1987, depressed by Mrs. Thatcher's third election victory, House fled to Greece for three years, where he was published in The Athenian and The Southeastern Review. He also there met his archaeologist wife, Diane. The pair returned to England in 1990 after a half-year, round-the-world trip, and settled in London and Northamptonshire. Since then, by way of escape from humdrum criminality, House has traveled in Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Ladakh, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Jordon, Libya, Mongolia, Kashmir, and Sri Lanka, where only the stout walls of Galle Fort saved him and his spouse from being swept away by the tsunami. House returns to Greece, his second home, almost every year. He has written for, inter alia, History Today, the Universities Quarterly, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Rough Guide to Greece and House practices criminal defense law from Garden Court Chambers, Lincoln's Inn Fields, in London, and hopes that if he keeps on practicing, he may eventually get the hang of it. His yet unachieved ambitions are: to farm alpacas; see Tibet liberated from the Chinese jackboot; and live to see Britain a socialist republic.
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