BUT MADAME I MUST INSIST!

“But Madame, I must insist!”

How many times have I heard that line in a movie or a book. Inevitably, it’s either a man talking to a woman — dominant to less dominant — or a “queen” dowager speaking to her underlings. There’s such a quality of superiority in that expression, the ultimate “I know so you have to listen to me because I KNOW.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

With #METOO in progress — and with Our Elected Master deciding the one thing America has never needed except after winning a war — the last time was 1991 after George Bush purportedly won the Gulf War. Whether we “won” that is a moot point, but at least it was supposedly a  “victory.” I know there hasn’t been one since then because I would remember it. One of the great things about this country is that we have never needed to display our military might that way.


If a gigantic asteroid were barreling toward impact with our planet, you can bet there would be at least a few members of Congress who would insist on leaving it alone, either because they would see it as a warning shot from the Almighty or because a mining company with a savvy team of lobbyists had laid claim to the big rock.

David Horsey


We do display our military might in other ways of course — like invasions, engulfing, stealing natural resources — not to mention sometimes killing off entire populations. Mostly, though, we’ve skipped marching our soldiers and our tanks and rockets around for entertainment. We’ve never needed to do that.

“But, ” says that man who somehow, and I swear I will never understand how, became our elected president, “I insist. I want to see all my soldiers marching in neat lines. I want to see tanks and rockets and missiles all shiny. And I’m going to have a special uniform with lots of gold braid and maybe a really fancy hat and I insist that everyone salute me. Do you think I could insist everyone call me ‘Your Majesty’?”

He looks around and does not see how everyone’s face is red and hidden in their hands. Our national shame is blustering again.

And then, there’s  … “I don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. There’s never any place to park and I have to wear heels and stockings. The waiter acts like Lord of the Manor where I don’t live,” I say.

“But I insist,” says my date. Not my guy. I already know this before the date begins. I’ve never been involved with anyone who used those words in a conversation with me. I come from a family with a big mean daddy who always insisted. He insisted when he was completely wrong and had no idea what he was talking — but just to confuse us, he also insisted when he was right. It was remarkably difficult to tell the difference.

I’m pretty sure where at least one chunk of my cynicism comes from. Erratic parents are the worst. When they are knowledgeable sometimes and completely ass-backward the rest of the time. You don’t know what to believe. If you are me, ultimately, you don’t believe anything without three kinds of proof.

The harder they insist, the more I am inclined to resist.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

You can reason with me. You can prove your point with facts and if you also make me laugh, I will not only agree with you, but I will love you for it. I will listen to your point of view as long as you aren’t stuffing it up my nose, calling me names, or behaving like an asshole.

Just don’t insist.

Unless the house is burning down and you know the only way out. Then, feel free to insist.

27 thoughts on “BUT MADAME I MUST INSIST!”

  1. I’m with you. Folks can offer opinions or advice, but ‘insist’ is not okay except if I am so ill that I have given them agency over me, and even then I reserve the right to say heck no–then again, it just occurred to me that maybe maybe maybe if it someone insisting on behalf of another, then it might be okay, like if some people are noisy and scaring some kids or animals etc., and someone asks them politely first to be quiet so they don’t scare them…but even then I might do the insisting via calling the cops or something if the initial polite requests were not met with helpful responses. Eh, the only time that insist works is when the butler or someone inthose films has been told what he must do, and he is in the position of shepherding others–

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    1. It surprises me Marilyn that, especially being an American, you don’t recall the other time(s) when it is perfectly reasonable to follow someone’s “But Madame, I must insist.”

      That is when the speaker is waving a weapon in your direction/face!

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          1. Right!

            Speaking of Detectives – did you and G ever manage to catch the show ‘River’? About a Swedish detective in London and his ex-partner’s ghost? Good Show.

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