Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney isn’t alone among Republicans in making off the cuff jackass remarks. After all, this is the party of Palin and Gingrich, Limbaugh and Coulter. This week’s remark from Romney when he said he’s ‘not concerned about the very poor’, is just the latest in the plutocrat’s tone-deafness and upper-crust noblesse without the oblige. What does set Romney apart is his penchant for what novelist Joyce Cary referred to as the “tumbril remark”.
A tumbril remark as defined by Cary and brilliantly discussed here by the late Christopher Hitchens*, is apparently “the polite upper-class incredulity at the sheer inconvenience of having to put up with other people” — for “other” read “not our sort” and for “our sort” read “people who live in the 0.001% bubble” that Romney lives in. The most famous such remark, possibly apocryphal, is no doubt Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”. Whether she said it or not wasn’t going to save her from that tumbril ride to her date Madame Guillotine. The fact of her perceived indifference to the plight of the ninety-nine per cent of the French populace and her active plotting to turn back the revolutionary tides sealed her fate.
Appropriately enough the tumbrils were farm carts which carried produce to the cities in the morning and removed the garbage and detritus of urban living from the city at night. It seems an entirely fitting vehicle for the final journey to the scaffold of the useless bloodsucking aristos and the proto-fascist politicians that followed them — a cart that removes societal shite. Romney should take note — when the tumbrils start rolling who knows where it will end, or who will end up in them.
*Let Them Eat Pork Rinds Vanity Fair, 2005, was re-published in his essential essay collection Arguably, Twelve, 2011.