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Prior to the word/s I can't understand there was a discussion on what the historical sources of British individual civil freedoms have been. A few of the reasons given for these British values have included things such as the Magna Carta, the Parliamentary system etc.

Along comes Peter Hitchens and says:

It's fascinating the way all these British values merchants are so coy about the real basis of the liberty which we enjoy, which is the particular form of Protestant Christianity which this country adopted, which created in people the strength of conscience, the self-restraint, the belief, very strongly, that law should be above power because the law derives ultimately from God. That is what actually makes this country what it is, but they won't talk about that because many of them are not Christians, many of them are active secularists, and many of them are nominal Christians and they don't really believe these things. That's what made us what we are and made us the kind of country we are, and to try and generalise this into some human rights (incomprehensible) is to make a fundamental mistake as to how it came about...

The word I can't understand is marked (incomprehensible) in the above transcription.

The word definitely sounds French to me. I first thought it could possibly be "melange", but I don't think he's saying that. Then I discovered there's a French dessert called blancmange, which actually is pronounced in a way resembling the words he spoke, so it's possible he's said this. However I can't find any definition of "blancmange" other than:

(Cookery) a jelly-like dessert, stiffened usually with cornflour and set in a mould
Collins Dictionary

I've checked a bunch of dictionaries and this is the only definition I can find. "Blancmange" comes from the French "blanc" (white) and "manger" (food/eating).

If he is actually saying this word, I can't understand a metaphoric way in which it's used. I really don't understand. Does anybody understand what he's saying?

Here is how "blancmange" is pronounced.

And here is the video in which Peter Hitchens speaks this word.

Note, both Peter Hitchens and his late brother use/used a wide vocabulary when speaking, and many terms are obscure or foreign or just generally hard to catch sometimes.

  • What I hear is: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Blamage. (If you agree, I'll write up an answer.) – cobaltduck Dec 26 '18 at 14:12
  • @cobaltduck That's very interesting. It's possible. The final vowel to me sounds like the French "ent" or "ont", maybe nasalised, and with lips more rounded than what you might expect with a word ending in -age, like mirage. Then again I really have no idea. Youtube's auto captions displays L'Amour's, which I'm pretty sure is wrong. Hmm, I'll try and see if there's a transcript from the BBC. These things are sometimes transcribed, I think. – Zebrafish Dec 26 '18 at 14:35
  • Note that the actual timestamp for the use of the word in question is 20:58. – Jason Bassford Dec 26 '18 at 16:44
3

He said:

To try and generalize this into some kind of human rights blancmange is to make a fundamental mistake.

Here are the subtitles

The word 'blancmange' is mediaeval French in origin (it means 'white food'), and originally in English (in the Middle Ages) meant a kind of fish or chicken stew made with milk and rice flour. Later this meaning evolved to mean a dessert made from milk, sugar, and cornflour. This dish is widely despised among the older middle and upper-class English people who were made to eat it as children. Its qualities include insipid flavour, lack of firmness (like a jelly), being thoroughly mixed (no identifiable ingredients), messiness (it is sloppy on the plate or in the bowl), suitability for invalids, young children and old people with no teeth, etc. These qualities make it usable as a pejorative label for an argument or position which the speaker feels is a messy mixture, weak or lacking in substance. Peter Hitchens is a British far-right commentator who has made no secret of his opposition to, and contempt for, what Americans call 'liberal' values, such as respect for human rights, diversity, and so on.

enter image description here

If you do this Google search, don't click on the lower (Watchfreevids) links - they lead to a spam site, and you will be forced to do a fake "Amazon survey"), and you will never get to see any subtitles for anything.

  • Great. How did you find the subtitles? I spent a while searching for different quotes on Google, I never came across that site. – Zebrafish Dec 26 '18 at 15:54
  • How does that yousubtitles.com site work? It's got both auto-generated subtitles and non-auto-generated ones, does this mean someone transcribed it? When I tried pasting the link to the video I could only get the auto-generated ones. How do you exactly get the other ones? – Zebrafish Dec 26 '18 at 16:00
  • @Zebrafish - see my edit above. I don't know if the subtitles were auto generated or transcribed. I just followed the link; I don't know how the site works. – Michael Harvey Dec 26 '18 at 16:23
  • I have listened; he says 'blancmange'. Did you notice the expressions on the faces of the people behind him? The woman's face when he mentioned "God"? Priceless. – Michael Harvey Dec 26 '18 at 16:25
  • Weird, I don't get that result in my Google search. I only get the watchfreevids links. I also wonder how this site works, and who transcribes this. – Zebrafish Dec 26 '18 at 16:27

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