Sat May 22, 2004

Something like Fire, or the Wheel

I spent a lot of a flight from London to Singapore reading Tragically I was an Only Twin, a well-edited collection of the comedy sketches, monologues and occasional journalism of Peter Cook. It turns out that Cook addressed many of the issues that preoccupy us at CT. Like intelligent design theory:

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling: Well, I’d like to say I believed in God, of course, but I’m afraid that, as a thinking person … there are two very good reasons why I simply can’t. … A—Wasps. Can’t see the point of a wasp, can you? And B—caviar. I mean really, what is the point of having caviar locked away inside sturgeon? So inaccessible. I’m sure if there were a real God he’d have arranged for caviar to just sort of toddle over to your house on a pair of little legs in a self-opening jar.

Or sociobiology:

Interviewer: [B]ut isn’t an anthill a very organized society?

Prof. Henrich Globnik: If your view of an organized society is thousands of ants milling around in corridors, bumping into each other with bits of twig and other rubbish in their mouth then I understand why you elected that woman.

Or political theory:

Arthur Grole: No you don’t [speak Russian], you poor sod. And you have an inalienable right not to speak Russian in this country. In Russia you have to speak Russian. But in this country we have an inalienable right not to speak Russian.

And philosophy of language:

Ludovic Kennedy: Do you speak any Lap yourself? Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling: I have a smattering—or a smeurtering, as they call it. They don’t in fact call it Lap. They call it Leurp. But I do have a smeurtering of Leurp. A few words … I like to think if I found myself in fourth-century Lapland I could get by—probably. Or preurbeurbly.

So obviously you should just buy it.