Sunday, May 13, 2007

Where My Blog Got It's Name......

If any of you (of the very few who read this) have ever wondered what the hell I was thinking when I named my blog, a bit of explanation may be in order. I'm a great fan of absurdist humor and Douglas Adams was a master of the genre. He was really a satirist writing under the guise of science fiction and he was a keen observer of politics and politicians.

I pride myself on having voted in every election I've been eligible to vote in since I was old enough to vote. I do it not because I feel it really does any good but because I feel that if I don't at least try to affect the outcome, I have no right to complain about it. I complain a lot these days.

When I chose my blog name I had in mind a particular passage in Douglas Adams' book, "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish," the fourth book in "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" series, the begining of Chapter 36 to be specific:

[A spaceship carrying a 100 foot tall silver robot had just landed in, or more accurately, on, a rather expensive chunk of London real estate, specifically Knightsbridge and more particularly, Harrod’s:...]

"I come in peace," it said, adding after a long moment of further
grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said Ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard
might get in. Got any gin?"

And that pretty accurately sums up the state of our democracy (or should I say Democratic Republic) nowadays. Thanks to the fact that our political class gets to draw the boundaries of voting districts ( better known as gerrymandering) they also get to choose the voters that put and keep them in office, not the other way around. Couple with that the fact that we have a mainstream media ( the old MSM again) that is, at worst, more or less completely in the tank for one side or else, at best, too damned lazy to check facts and just fully report them without bias, the average voter is too poorly informed to make rational choices. And they vote anyway. Bill Whittle described the way it works best in his essay "Magic." What results from the creation of lies from truth he describes is what he further describes in "Seeing the Unseen" Part 1 and Part 2, a people that will believe nearly anything. I still hold out hope that my fellow citizens will figure it out ( I have to to remain sane) but time is getting short for them to do it without dire consequences.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excelent quote from a great book and an nice brief summery of our political system. Good job