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Quotes for
Irwin (Character)
from The History Boys (2006)

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The History Boys (2006)
[Posner has confessed to Irwin that he thinks he is homosexual and in love with Dakin]
Posner: Do you ever look at your life?
Tom Irwin: I thought everybody did.
Posner: I'm a Jew... I'm small... I'm homosexual... and I live in Sheffield... I'm fucked.

[at a mock interview for entrance to an Oxford college]
Tom Irwin: Um, Rudge...
Mrs. Lintott: Now. How do you define history Mr. Rudge?
Rudge: Can I speak freely, Miss? Without being hit?
Mrs. Lintott: I will protect you.
Rudge: How do I define history? It's just one fuckin' thing after another.
[raucous laughter from the other students, but the interview board is appalled]
Mrs. Lintott: I see. And why do you want to come to Christ Church?
Rudge: It's the one I thought I might get into.

Headmaster: There's a vacancy in history.
Tom Irwin: [Thoughtfully] That's very true.
Headmaster: In the school.
Tom Irwin: Ah.

Timms: You've got crap handwriting, sir!
Tom Irwin: It's your eyesight that's bad, and we know what that's caused by.
Timms: Sir! Is that a coded reference to the mythical dangers of self-abuse?
Tom Irwin: Possibly. It might even be a joke.
Dakin: A joke, sir. Oh. Are jokes going to be a feature, sir? We need to know as it affects our mindset.

Tom Irwin: [after Posner and Scripps act it out] God knows why you've learnt Brief Encounter.

Tom Irwin: But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don't see it, and because we don't see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian's jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be... even on the Holocaust.

Dakin: I'm just kicking the tyres on this one but, further to the drink, what I was really wondering was whether there were any circumstances in which there was any chance of your sucking me off... Or something similar... Actually, that would please Hector.
Tom Irwin: What?
Dakin: "Your sucking me off". It's a gerund. He likes gerunds. And "your being scared shitless", that's another gerund.

Tom Irwin: I didn't know you were that way inclined.
Dakin: I'm not, but it's the end of term; I've got into Oxford; I though we might push the boat out.

Tom Irwin: You were quoting somebody. Auden, isn't it?
Timms: [Expansively] Was I, sir? Sometimes it just flows out, y'know, brims over!

Dakin: How do you think history happens?
Tom Irwin: What?
Dakin: How does stuff happen, do you think? People decide to do stuff. Make moves. Alter things.
Tom Irwin: I'm not sure what you're talking about.
Dakin: No? Think about it.
Tom Irwin: Some do... make moves, I suppose. Others react to events. In 1939 Hitler made a move on Poland. Poland defended itself.
Dakin: ...gave in.
Tom Irwin: Is that what you mean?
Dakin: No. Not Poland anyway. Was Poland taken by surprise?
Tom Irwin: To some extent. Though they knew something was up.

Dakin: Next week? Get this man - "You can suck me off next week"! I've heard of a busy schedule but this is ridiculous. God, we've got a long way to go. Do you ever take your glasses off?
Tom Irwin: Why?
Dakin: It's a start.
Tom Irwin: Not with me. Taking off my glasses is the last thing I do.
Dakin: Yeh? I'll look forward to it.

Tom Irwin: The truth was, in 1914, Germany doesn't want war. Yeah, there's an arms race, but it's Britain who's leading it. So, why does no one admit this?
[approaching a war memorial]
Tom Irwin: That's why. The dead. The body count. We don't like to admit the war was even partly our fault cos so many of our people died. And all the mourning's veiled the truth. It's not "lest we forget", it's "lest we remember". That's what all this is about -the memorials, the Cenotaph, the two minutes' silence-. Because there is no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.

Tom Irwin: God knows why you've learnt 'Brief Encounter'.

Headmaster: Ah, Irwin! Splendid news!
[pops the cork of a bottle of champagne]
Headmaster: Splendid news! Posner a scholarship! Dakin an exhibition! And places for everybody else!
[cops a feel of Fiona's bum]
Headmaster: It's... it's more then one could have ever hoped for! Irwin you are to be congratulated! A remarkable achievement! Oh and, you too, you too Dorothy of course, you, ah, laid the foundation.
Mrs. Lintott: Not Rudge headmaster.
Headmaster: Not Rudge. Oh, dear.
Tom Irwin: He said nothing, the others have all had letters.
Headmaster: There's always an outside chance. It's a pity, it would have been good to have a clean swoop.
[Rudge appears at the door, but only seen by Mrs. Lintott]
Headmaster: Still as I've said all along, you can't polish a turd.
Mrs. Lintott: [Rudge leaves and Mrs. Lintott takes after him down the hallway] Rudge!
[Rudge stops and turns around]
Mrs. Lintott: You haven't heard from Oxford?
[Rudge shakes his head]
Mrs. Lintott: Perhaps you'll hear tomorrow.
Rudge: Why should I? They told me when I was there.
Mrs. Lintott: I'm sorry.
Rudge: What for? I got in.
Mrs. Lintott: How come?
Rudge: How come they told me, or how come they took a thick sod like me?... I had family connections.
Mrs. Lintott: [incredulously] Somebody in your family went to Christ Church?
Rudge: In a manner of speaking, my Dad, before he got married he was a college servant there. This old, parson, who just been sitting there most of the interview, suddenly said was I related to Bill Rudge who was a scout in staircase seven in the ninety-fifties. So, said he was my Dad, and they said I was the kind of candidate they were looking for. Mind you I did do the other stuff, like Stalin was a sweetie and Wilfred Owen was a wuss. They said I was plainly someone who thought for himself, and exactly what the college rugger team needed.
Mrs. Lintott: Are you not pleased?
Rudge: It's not like winning a match.

Mrs. Bibby: Our lord and master, having grudgingly conceded that art may have its uses, I gather, I'm supossed, to give your Oxford and Cambridge boys a smattering of art history.
Hector: Not my bag, Hazel. Irwin's your man.
Tom Irwin: It's really just the icing on the cake.
Mrs. Bibby: Is art ever anything else?