Open wide for dontopedalogy!

John MacArthur, a Christian minister and writer, published a book of “biography” of the Apostles.  The chapter on Simon Peter (my favorite apostle) was “The Apostle with the Foot-Shaped Mouth”.  In other words, he suffered from dontopedalogy.

Dontopedalogy is otherwise known as “open mouth, insert foot”.  According to my Google searches, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is the “King of Dontopedalogy”, not only for having allegedly invented the term, but for also being a noble practitioner thereof. From an article on the Radio Times website, here are some samples of his expertise in the subject:


During the 1981 recession: “Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.”

Responding to calls for a firearms ban following the Dunblane massacre in 1996: “If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?”

To Sir Rennie Maudslay, Keeper of the Privy Purse in the 1970s: “You’re just a silly little Whitehall twit: you don’t trust me and I don’t trust you.”

Context is everything

Accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991: “Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world.”

At the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme in 2006: “Young people are the same as they always were. They are just as ignorant.”

At a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting: “If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”

While I’m sure none of us can match HRH for sheer effrontery, I’m guessing we’ve all had times when we wished life had a rewind button. What’s your own most memorable ‘foot-in-mouth’ occasion?


2 thoughts on “Open wide for dontopedalogy!

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