{The Harumph. Outmoded? Discuss.}


{The book discussed below is one I'd certainly love to read. While reviewing the review, the mention of the harumph was just too funny not to share. I immediately thought of Disapproving Rabbits, and tried myself to harumph, to little success.}


From Robert Fulford's book review of The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head by Raymond Tallis published on National Post:

"Consider the way a human face speaks with silent eloquence. In the view of Raymond Tallis, an eminent British doctor and a talented writer, the face of a man or woman constitutes 'the most sign-packed surface in the universe.' Consider the way a human face speaks with silent eloquence. In the view of Raymond Tallis, an eminent British doctor and a talented writer, the face of a man or woman constitutes 'the most sign-packed surface in the universe.'


"In his new book, The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head (Yale University Press), Tallis sets out to make his readers into 'astonished tourists of the piece of the world that is closest to them, so they never again take for granted the head that looks at them from the mirror.' He begins his examination with the face.

He also examines willed behaviour, providing detailed data on kissing and possibly the first analysis ever of harrumphing. Oxford defines a harrumph as an ostentatious clearing of the throat, expressing disapproval. Tallis says it's close to a suppressed bark, typically triggered by a newspaper item about a fashion or trend the harrumpher deplores. "Harrumphs are particularly associated with the idea of a member of the Establishment, whose overweight body provides the perfect instrument for manufacturing it," complete with jowls that shake while the sound emerges.

Few harrumphers practise this favourite tic in private. Like laughing, it's not often a solitary indulgence. (Tallis says we laugh 30 times more frequently when we are with others than when we are alone.) The harrumph probably deserves more space than Tallis gives it. Is it dying out? Does it express social attitudes only of the old and cranky? I have heard people fail miserably when trying to produce a satisfactory harrumph. All they can manage is a pathetic snort. Harrumphing is no simple matter. There is a rumour they still teach it in the better private schools."

Comments

Ella said…
Only 4 hugs a day are need to keeping you healthy too. I manage that ususally if I'm out and about.I cry to as that destresses the brain. Will science ever figure it all out? I don't know.

Laughing is fun too, and when I want a good laugh I watch Zoolander.

Being alone has it time and place too, depending upon one's circumstances.

Peace,

Ella

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