June 24, 2005

British Dolts of the World,

British Dolts of the World, Unite!

As has been much reported in the news, the endless pool of virility known as the French people have recently voted against the European Union’s anti-insomnia constitution. Many of those who voted “non” were chiefly concerned about the likelihood that further European integration would jeopardize their three-hour work week.

As some journalists put it, numerous Frenchmen are deeply concerned about the spread of “Anglo-Saxon capitalism.”

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” consider the phrase “Anglo-Saxon capitalism” only slightly less ridiculous than “feminist algebra.” It conjures up visions of bevies of barbarian Boudicas, bedecked in blue body paint, and clutching copies of The Financial Times.

In addition, an article from the venerable London Times has given us reason to believe that our French friends are all hot and bothered over nothing.

In the June 19 number of the Times, one Richard Brooks offers the midterm results of a vaguely ridiculous poll hosted by the BBC Radio 4 program “In Our Time.” The poll’s question is simple: Who is the world’s greatest philosopher? Mr. Brooks reports that, with only a few weeks to go, the answer is Karl Marx.

Indeed, our orthodontically-challenged friends across the pond appear to believe that the progenitor of Communism is the embodiment of the philosopher’s philosopher. Accordingly, behind him rank such intellectual also-rans as Ludwig Wittgenstein, David Hume, and some fellow named Plato.

Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t mean to cast aspersions on the British BBC-listening public, but we find the midterm results of this poll simply uproarious. After all, whether you esteem Wittgenstein or not, at least his philosophy isn’t responsible for the deaths of millions of human beings!

If the BBC asked the British public who the greatest politician was, would they name Stalin? He, of course, was a follower of the “world’s greatest philosopher.”

If the British public has the poor sense to finger Karl Marx as the greatest, why isn’t Nietzsche fairing better? He was the in-house philosopher for the Nazi party, for crying out loud! Isn’t that worth something?

Perhaps our favorite part of the Times story is Mr. Brook’s delicious understatement: “Many critics disagree, arguing that communism has largely been discredited.”

Yeah, largely. Perhaps that sentence should read “Everyone outside of university English departments disagrees, arguing that only radical nutters are fond of Communism.”

We hate to ruin old Firesign Theater jokes, but we certainly love Marx—Groucho Marx, that is.

Posted at June 24, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack