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A rude joke?

April 20, 2018

I’m reading PG Wodehouse’s Joy in the Morning, and one of the plot strands involves a merger between two shipping companies. Those companies are called Pink Funnel and Clam Line.

A merger. Between Pink Funnel and Clam Line.

Now, PG Wodehouse does not as a rule do rude jokes. He does jokes galore about infatuation, jealousy, broken engagements, love and marriage; but he doesn’t do jokes about sex. Yet…

A merger.

Between Pink Funnel and Clam Line.

Is this a rare instance of Wodehouse slipping in a dirty joke? Or is it just my dirty mind?

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8 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    You’ll be reading something into Stiffy Byng’s name next.

  2. Spiritman permalink

    That might depend on how much plausible deniability he retained by creating credible links to other plot elements, such that those particular names were necessary. If such links are at most tenuous (or indeed nonexistent) then he doesn’t have a leg to stand on and it is a rude joke.
    Your having a dirty mind is not necessarily correlated with his intentions, and can exist independently.
    🙂

  3. Simon Carter permalink

    As P. G. Wodehouse was a plot master without equal it’s safe to assume that had he required any deniability then deniability he would have provided himself. Why shouldn’t he make a “rude” joke? Chaucer and Shakespeare were fond enough of them.

  4. Mark Brafield permalink

    And why else would be the book be called ‘Joy in the morning’ ?

    I remember an article by John Carey on Browning’s ‘Meeting at night’, describing the ecstatic meeting of two lovers ‘hearts beating each to each’. Carey – in a very Carey-esque observation – was amazed at how the Victorian censors allowed Browning to get away with ;

    ‘As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
    And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand’.

    Once you realise the point he is making, you can never read the poem the same way again.

    • Well you’re quite right! I knew that poem, or thought I did, but never realised what those lines were saying.

  5. Simon Carter permalink

    Also as Joy in the Morning was famously written while he was interred during the war he may have felt like being fractionally edgier than usual.

  6. That is interesting – I didn’t know that. The publication date is 1947 so that tallies.

  7. Simon Carter permalink

    Interred? Interned! He wrote some of the book in France and finished it in Germany so presumably was working on it at the time of his notorious broadcasts.

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