I don't understand the bold part. What does this mean?

The hush is only more touching for being a parody of itself. What does the author want to say here?

Wimbledon is the rare hallowed site that exceeds its reputation for grandeur. Hydrangeas line the walkways. The hush is only more touching for being a parody of itself. Demonstrating the English flair for imposing class systems where informality might otherwise flourish, badges dangle from the lapels of men in panama hats, identifying them as debenture holders, or non-voting investors in the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which was founded in 1868 as a croquet association. (Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, who brought tennis to the club, originally tried to call the game Sphairistiké, alluding to a Greek word for “ball.”) The place where the line judges eat is called the Officials’ Buttery.

  • The downvote isn't mine, but I think you need to explain what you're looking for a bit more. There are a lot of intermediate-level words in there, and it's definitely prose; not a simple sentence. (Plus it's actually 3 sentences.) So I'd love for you to be able to get an answer, but can you edit to explain what confuses you? Are you unsure about the use of line in this context, or maybe the phrase parody of itself? What's got you stumped?
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 2:22
  • 2
    The first sentence is that Wimbledon is famous for its grandeur but the actual grandeur is even greater than what its fame says. As for the other sentence, I really don't understand it. I understand the literal meaning but how is the hush a parody of itself eludes me.
    – SF.
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 8:46
  • @SF. I have no idea what the sentence means. I'm curious to see what meaning other people can tease out of it, but I'm not fully convinced that it has any meaning, myself...
    – user230
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


What I understand from that sentence, first, is that it is sort of mocking what it is done in Wimbledon.

The hush is only more touching for being a parody of itself.

In tennis it is very common that the crowd remains very silent. This is about all of what I know of tennis.

You sort of need to know a bit the context to understand what the author means. I read a bit around, and it seems in Wimbledon they stress the silence out even more than the usual. Silence like a "Requiem Mass".

You can see a related article here: http://www.newstatesman.com/node/135138

So, we know that in Tennis, they emphasize on the silence because they want the Players to be able to concentrate better. But if:

  • The silence is exaggerated, it can actually be unnerving. So you don't really concentrate
  • If you keep asking silence too much (As it seems they may do in Wimbledon), then it is actually counter productive. You cause the player to lose concentration.
  • Also it seems some players do a lot of things to disrupt the other player concentration, and it is possible they keep on requesting silence just to achieve that.
  • Finally, it seems in Wimbledon people take pride in their "knowledge" of Tennis "rules"/culture. So they remain specially silent, not because they want the player to be able to concentrate, but as a way of bragging about their knowledge on the matter.

Because all of these reasons, or some other reason I don't know of, the exaggerated silence or the exaggeration on requesting silence, becomes a parody and it defeats its own purpose.

He also says that it is touching. This is because something that was supposed to be simple actually became convoluted and stupid. So it actually moves you, probably to laughter in this case, since he seems to be talking ironically.

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