Right Ho, Jeeves

(Written by P.G. Wodehouse) (1934)

Your correspondent has a terrible confession to make.  The unburdening of this shocking secret, whilst cathartic, may very well lead to a global un-platforming.

No, I haven’t been selling or buying on the Dark Web; I’m not a secret member of Antifa or Neo Nazis; I didn’t cast 134,000 votes for Joe Biden just before dawn the day after the U.S. election.  It is much worse: I recently read “Right Ho, Jeeves” and didn’t find it funny at all.  It’s about as funny as a child molester, actually.

Which is not to say it isn’t a light, pleasant read. Idle rich dolt Bertie Wooster wishes that his valet, Jeeves, would jolly well stop interfering with Bertie’s attempts to match-make, in two cases: of his old pal Gussie Fink-Nottle with soppy Madeline Bassett, and alumnus Tuppy Glossop with Bertie’s cousin Angela. Why someone asexual as Wooster would be any good at it is unexplained, but he certainly isn’t.

Hilarity ensues as Wooster works his magic wand, with unfortunate results.  But the impassive, implacable Jeeves comes to his idiot Master’s rescue and all’s well that ends well.

Wodehouse has a nice line in the type of upper-class tweeting one expects from an upper class twit in the 1920s, and there are some amusing set pieces – Fink-Nottle’s drunken speech to the boys of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, Tuppy’s attempts to thrash Bertie when he thinks the latter has designs on Angela, and the exasperation of Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia are good examples, but frankly, this sort of stuff dates cruelly.  Furthermore, one suspects that it appeals in particular to the type of clubbable English chap who schooled at Winchester, Stowe or Dulwich College.  Elites in England love Bertie Wooster, without recognising him in themselves.  And the sort of uncomplaining, attentive, discrete competence that Jeeves possesses went out with the days of indentured servitude, decent public education and heroic mercantilism.

“So what’s wrong with a white mess jacket?”


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