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Posts Tagged ‘The Code of the Woosters’

ashokbhatia

Most of us love Bertram Wilberforce ‘Bertie’ Wooster. Unlike some goofy female characters who would not mind taking ‘a whack at the Wooster millions’, we do not love him for his money. We love him for his self-less attitude and simplicity.CodeOfTheWoosters

Some of us pity him for being ‘mentally negligible’. His tendency to keep getting into one soup or the other often makes us feel superior to him. Whenever he gets stuck, Jeeves rallies around. He keeps pulling him and his pals out of the kind of predicaments they keep facing from time to time. If ever Bertie’s pride gets hurt and he decides to untangle an issue all by himself, disaster lurks around the corner.

All through, Bertie’s actions are governed by The Code of the Woosters which is essentially about never letting a pal down. However, I do believe that there are several finer shades to it. Each…

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ashokbhatia

Howsoever irrational and demanding his pals, Bertie would never let them down. Show him a soul in torment and he would rush in to provide the healing touch. A couple whose union is threatened by either a parent or an uncle gets his unstinted support, even if it means his taking the rap for a misdemeanor he is not at all connected with.Code of the Woosters Cover 5

We see him rallying around when a member of the so-called sterner sex is incapable of expressing his tender feelings to a member of the tribe of the delicately nurtured. Often, we find him persuading a member of the opposite sex to end a bitter feud with a friend who has been returned to store on account of some misunderstanding.

At times, we find him charming his returned-to-store pals against running across the Atlantic. This ensures that they remain readily available for a speedy reconciliation between the…

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ashokbhatia

The code that Bertie Wooster follows while interacting with the denizens of Plumsville has several finer shades to it.Code of the Woosters Cover 3

Here are some more examples, as gleaned from The Code of the Woosters.

Being a Boy Scout and a Bulldog

Bertie is invariably happy when playing the role of a boy scout. Performing little acts of kindness makes him happy. When Aunt Dahlia sends him off on a mission to sneer at the cow-creamer in an antique shop, he does not mind his morning plans getting changed.

When he arrives at the shop on Brampton Road, he runs into Sir Watkyn Bassett, CBE. The bulldog strain in the Woosters comes into play. He does not run away. He stands firm.

A Resilience of Nature

These are his feelings when, prodded by Jeeves and Stiffy, he agrees to go and tell Pop Bassett that he plans to marry Stiffy.

It has…

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ashokbhatia

The character of Bertie Wooster is a study in contrasts. He has a dreamy sweetness about him. He is soft and chivalrous. He has a generous soul. He declines all proposals of marriage in a very polished manner. He never bandies about a woman’s name. Code of the Woosters Cover 1

But very often he also displays a unique strength of character. He can also speak his mind. If there is a fruity scheme which might result in the Code of the Woosters getting compromised, he is not game.

The delicately nurtured invariably corner Bertie and persuade him to do something truly goofy and get him into a jam. Gwladys puts her boyfriend with a broken leg in his flat. Pauline Stoker invades his rural cottage at the dead of night in a bathing suit. Florence Craye, Pauline Stoker, Roberta Wickham, Vanessa Cook, Nobby and Stiffy Byng are some other characters which immediately spring to one’s…

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ashokbhatia

When it comes to delivering bad news gently, Bertie Wooster is good. His technique involves an adequate amount of foreplay and inane conversation, followed by the news which is likely to leave the other person all-of-a-twitter.Code of the Woosters Cover 2

However, when the situation demands, he can also be tough on the errant person, putting him or her in place. Mind you, he does not offend. He merely follows the Code of the Woosters and plays firm and steady. He does so till the time the object of his derision wilts and relents.

He asserts himself. Much like the ancient Roman gladiators, he also chooses to be aggressive at times, whereupon his agility and nippiness knows no bounds. If he is sarcastic, his nonchalant manner rules supreme. It is another matter that his brand of subtle sarcasm is often lost on a hard-boiled party of the other part.

Here are some instances from ‘

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ashokbhatia

One of the sterling qualities Bertie Wooster possesses is that of breaking any bad news gently to those who are apt to shiver from the base of their toes to the top of their heads upon receiving it. There is a great deal of finesse to his approach. Seldom do we find him rushing abruptly into a conversation which involves the party of the other part finding itself at the receiving end. CodeOfTheWoosters

In ‘The Code of the Woosters’, we find that he uses an ultra-soft approach while trying to convey a disturbing news. This is true not only for a pal like Gussie Fink-Nottle but also for a quirky character like Pop Bassett.

Asking for Pop Bassett’s Niece’s Hand in Marriage

Prodded by the inimitable Jeeves, Stiffy Byng manages to persuade Bertie to break it to Pop Bassett that he proposes to get married to her. Since this…

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Most of us love Bertram Wilberforce ‘Bertie’ Wooster. Unlike some goofy female characters who would not mind taking ‘a whack at the Wooster millions’, we do not love him for his money. We love him for his self-less attitude and simplicity.CodeOfTheWoosters

Some of us pity him for being ‘mentally negligible’. His tendency to keep getting into one soup or the other often makes us feel superior to him. Whenever he gets stuck, Jeeves rallies around. He keeps pulling him and his pals out of the kind of predicaments they keep facing from time to time. If ever Bertie’s pride gets hurt and he decides to untangle an issue all by himself, disaster lurks around the corner.

All through, Bertie’s actions are governed by The Code of the Woosters which is essentially about never letting a pal down. However, I do believe that there are several finer shades to it. Each facet of the Code of the Woosters represents a set of values, which are as relevant today as they were when originally penned by Plum, a Master Wordsmith of our times.

The Wooster Code De-codified

As we have seen from the series of earlier posts, aimed at decoding the Code of the Woosters, following features stand out.

1. Never let a Pal down
The Goofiness Index of any scheme may be high, but if it results into bringing the sunshine back into the life of a pal, give it a good shove. If blackmail is necessary, so be it. Never bother about your own discomfort or image in society. Always live and behave like a boy scout, out on an errand of mercy. If two loopy characters happen to be affianced, be concerned. Subject their union to a pitiless analysis, especially with reference to their progeny.

Support your colleagues when they happen to run into trouble.

2. Stand up for the Wooster ClanCode of the Woosters Cover 6
Respect the feudal spirit. Be prepared to make sacrifices, wherever and whenever necessary. Health and happiness of a beloved relation is far more important than even a thirty-day stint in the prison without an option. Stand up to blackmail by retired magistrates. Pay them back in their own coin by subjecting them to a bite, if possible.

Cultivate and respect a sense of loyalty.

3. Be a Preux Chevalier
Never say no to a proposal from one of the delicately nurtured, howsoever padded the person might be from the top of the head to the tips of her toes. When it comes to carrying out a goofy scheme dished out by the opposite sex, be flexible. Never ever bandy about the name of a woman. When she gives a build-up to the man in her life, never tell her upfront that she lies.

Be respectful to your colleagues; never take undue advantage.

4. Have a bulldog spirit
Walk with your chin up, your eyes sparkling and with both feet on the ground. Be positive. Never repine, never despair, never allow the upper lip to unstiffen. Always remember that, no matter how dark the skies may be, the sun is shining somewhere and will eventually come smiling through.

Be positive, even if a deadline sounds impossible.

5. Be humane; Noblesse Oblige
Consider the psychology of the individual. Be considerate when breaking a bad news to a person, whether a friend or an adversary.Code of the Woosters Cover 3

Before you hand over the pink slip, counsel the person over a cup of coffee. Take responsibility, authority will follow.

6. Stick to rules
Howsoever goofy the act, always follow proper procedures.

Expected to do some hanky-panky? Build a safety net and a cushion for yourself first.

7. Be aware of your Pumpkin Quotient
Knowing your own weaknesses helps. Navigating through the choppy waters of life becomes easier.

Guide those who rank higher; be guided by those who rank lower.

8. Refuse to be a doormat
When necessary, assert yourself. Restrain erring friends and relatives. Put across an objective analysis of your viewpoint. Reason it out.

Learn to say a polite ‘no’.

9. Always meet the Boss half way through
In order to continue to enjoy Anatole’s delicious spreads, never antagonize Aunt Dahlia. When you find stealing a cow-creamer to be an impossible task, analyze the situation carefully. Always keep her informed without any delay.

Get back to the boss before she/he starts twiddling her/his thumbs trying to figure out what is happening.

10. Taming a Hippopotamus by Teamwork
When life pits you against someone like Roderick Spode, a Dictator who heads a Fascist organization like Black Shorts and who designs women’s underclothing on the sly, how do you check his enthusiasm to beat yourselves and your pals to pulp? Think of some nifty team work. Someone like Aunt Dahlia can think of finding a secret against him. Someone resourceful like Jeeves can unearth the secret and you can use it to chilling effect.

You can’t do everything yourself. Use teamwork.

Possible Origins of the Code

What could have been the possible sources of the values that the Code of the Woosters covers?Code of the Woosters Cover 4

Values come to us from our ancestors, handed down from generation to generation. The way our folks conduct themselves at home defines our own value systems. Teachers and friends play an important role in our formative years.

The Woosters are said to have come over from France with William the Conqueror and were extremely pally with him. Some members of the family apparently fought at Agincourt and others did their bit in the Crusades. The origin of the Woosters’ fine sense of noblesse oblige and their strong feudal spirit can be traced to their fine pedigree.

Magdalen College, Oxford

Magdalen College, Oxford

Woosters’ manners are impeccable. Their conduct is above reproach. Even if one of their heirs decides to indulge in such misdemeanors as pinching a policeman’s helmet, a proper procedure is invariably followed. The sentiment to never let a pal down is ingrained in Bertie’s DNA.

Bertie is believed to be an orphan who inherited a large fortune upon the death of his parents. Vacations with aunts and uncles would have shaped his flawless character. The style of living at stately homes and castles would have imparted to him good values, extreme politeness and decent manners.

Bertie’s desire to be a preux chevalier perhaps owes its origin not only to his ancestors but also to the fine schooling he has had. His memoirs often capture his escapades at Malvern House Preparatory School, Eton and Magdalen College at Oxford. Incidentally, all of these happen to be single-sex all-male institutions. This can perhaps explain the presence of an undercurrent of the old-boys-club-feel across all his memoirs.

A Jaundiced View of Life

Many of us bemoan the present ills of our society. Treatment of women continues to be a cause for serious concern. Friendships have become a means to ensure that we have the right contacts in the right places. There is little place in our lives for selfless relationships. Only relationships which enhance our economic and social status survive the onslaught of time. Many of us survive and grow in the corporate jungles we operate in by being Yes-men. We have forgotten how to either register a protest or say a ‘no’.

When it comes to standing up for our families, we suffer from selective amnesia. The definition of ‘family’ itself has got constricted. We take pride in breaking rules. In the relentless pursuit of economic gains, our Boy Scout spirit has faded away. When we see a person facing a traumatic situation, many of us do not care to stop by, enquire and provide a healing touch.Code of the Woosters Cover 1

When a juicy target pops up, we have a tendency to rush towards it without making a realistic assessment of our own capabilities. We fail to enthuse and take along team members we despise for personal and subjective reasons. We do not pay attention to their psychology or what makes them tick. Often, loyalty to the companies we work for gets determined only by the material gains it offers. An inner sense of peace and satisfaction is ignored.

Interpersonal relationships often pose a challenge. Some of us live our lives as if the burden of the whole universe is upon our frail shoulders. We forget to smile. We forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. We no longer have a positive outlook.

Our profession does not matter. Our location does not matter. Our technical knowledge does not matter. Our skills do not matter. Instead, what matters is our having the right attitude.

Of Hippopotami and White Hunters

All this brings home the everlasting relevance of the Code of the Woosters. If followed rigorously, it has the potential to effectively counter many of the challenges being faced by us at present. Many a problem can be made to wilt and retreat, much like a young and nervous hippopotamus coming face to face with its first White Hunter.

Let us resolve to be White Hunters, armed with rifles carrying the bullets of the C of the W.

Time to recall our bulldog spirit, walk with our chins up, our eyes sparkling and with both feet firmly on the ground. Not to repine. Not to despair. Not allowing our upper lips to unstiffen.

Pip, pip!

(Concluding Part of the Series on The Code of the Woosters)

[Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/bertie-wooster-and-the-art-of-breaking-bad-news-gently

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/when-bertie-wooster-decides-to-assert-himself

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/of-bertie-goofy-females-and-the-wooster-clan

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/some-finer-shades-of-the-code-of-the-woosters

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/bertie-never-lets-a-pal-down%5D

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