New concepts for the Nineties; No. 29: Brunoism

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The Independent Online
Brunoism n 1 The tendency for good guys, expected to come last, to suddenly come first. The technique is named after the professional boxer and pantomime performer Franklin Roy Bruno MBE. Similar to Gumpism, named after the award-winning film Forrest Gump. The difference being that Gump was a moron, while Bruno only pretends to be one.

n 2 Being famous for something other than your professed job or talent. Sportsmen are particularly prone to this, for example England's rugby union captain, Will Carling, (management consultant and friend to lonely royalty). An unhappier example is Mike Tyson, more famous as a rapist than a boxer.

Clive Anderson, lawyer; Prince Edward, television producer; and - reluctantly and with denials - various headmasters of our leading public schools are all examples of this form of Brunoism.

King Robert I of Scotland exemplifies the first definition of Brunoism. He eventually defeated the English at Bannockburn after, noting the Brunoist tendencies of a spider.

Noteworthy closet Brunoists in the Nineties include the whole of the Labour Party. Having failed to win the WEC (Westminster Election Championship) title at four attempts since 1979, their contestants are hoping their devotion to Brunoism will deliver at the next contest.

Their Brunoist creed includes the standard response to all questions of what they will do if they take the title. Thus Tony Blair (who varies between a lightweight and light-welterweight) can be heard to deliver variants of a Bruno favourite, namely: "We will be duckin' and divin' mate."

In December 1941 the prime minister, Winston Churchill, is alleged to have said: "We must just KBO." This is usually taken to mean "keep buggering on". However, revisionist historians now insist Winnie had foresight of a heavyweight victory later in the century and may have meant "keep Brunoing on".

The second definition of Brunoism is capable of being transmitted from person to person. Thus Harry Carpenter was best known for his sports commentating until he became the foil for Frank Bruno's after-fight comedy acts. His celebrity grew out of all proportion, though he did suffer a name change to Arry.

Inverted Brunoism is best demonstrated by Margaret Thatcher, the antithesis of Bruno-like charm, used only to winning. In November 1990 she suffered unexpected inverse Brunoism when she greeted a leadership contest with the words: "I fight on. I fight to win." She threw in the towel.