“STRIVERS”. David Frost was a “striver”. I learned the word from reading John Mortimer. I was a big fan of John Mortimer’s books about Rumpole and admired his world view. So I was surprised when an important character in his non-Rumpole books was spoken of as a “striver”. A “striver” was apparently a person born into the middle class who sought to rise above his station by hard work. I was surprised because in the United States succeeding through hard work is admired. If a candidate for high office was born in a log cabin, he or she will boast of it. “Horatio Alger” life stories are valued.

This review in the New York Times (April 29, 1990) by Robert Plunket of Mortimer’s TITMUSS REGAINED is a good description of what made Leslie Titmuss a “striver”: “He was…a toadying, obsequious child from the prim middle class, uncultured and unclever, who managed, to the astonishment of everyone in the village of Rapstone, to rise to political prominence and a place in the cabinet.”

I note that in this 1990—yes, 1990—review, Plunket describes Titmuss as “a sort of British Donald Trump, the man you love to hate.”

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