Wednesday 12 February 2014

Received Ideas III

Zippy the Pinhead

I have expanded and updated my book Clichés: A Dictionary of Received Ideas, a collection of weird wisdom and ludicours lore. It now has a section of questionable quotes. Also available on Kobo. Here's a sample:


ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? Asked Al Gore as a child on holiday. (It was cartoon character Zippy the Pinhead.)

BUT THAT WAS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, and besides the wench is dead. (From Christopher Marlow’s The Jew of Malta. It is supposed to be a feeble excuse.)

EVERY SPERM IS SACRED From an amusing comedy skit by those zany jokesters, Monty Python, not preached by the Pope.

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY “Policy” used to mean something like “diplomacy”, so this means "honesty is the best kind of deviousness".

LIES, DAMN LIES… “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics,” said Winston Churchill. (When Mark Twain mentioned this pithy saying in his autobiography, he credited it to Benjamin Disraeli.)


ATTENTION SPAN Reduced to three minutes by Facebook, Twitter, texting, television adverts, moving pictures, penny dreadfuls, melodramas etc etc

BUTTONS The Quakers thought buttons were frivolous.

CROWDS How lonely one can be in a crowd! But it’s possible to be “alone” and not “lonely”.

DYLAN THOMAS Habitually used a fried egg as a bookmark.

EUROPEAN UNION Set of screaming Marxists who ban bent bananas and force us to accept their bleeding-heart values. We need British human rights (i.e. fewer rights for humans).

FRIENDS It’s better to have four or five real friends than 40 acquaintances (and 300 Facebook “friends”).

GUNS Don’t kill people. People kill people. (“But the gun helps.” Eddie Izzard)

HYMNS Their tunes are always based on drinking songs.

ITALIAN The purest Italian is spoken in Tuscany.

JOHN WAYNE Couldn’t act. Hilariously, said “Aw, truly this was the son of Gahd”.

KING JAMES II Rode his horse upstairs to bed because he didn’t want people to know he was short.

LYING Everybody tells ten lies a day. 

MOSQUITOES Repel them by eating garlic, or wearing white.

NON-STICK SAUCEPANS A spin-off from space research, they are made from the same material as the nose-cones of rockets.

OVER-THINKING It’s better to under-think things. Be unprepared!

PUNS There are no puns in German.

QUEEN’S HANDBAG What does Queen Elizabeth II carry in her handbag? If anyone finds out, they are never seen again.

ROYAL MAIL Set up by Charles I as a cover for a spy network.

STRAUSS WALTZES The pop music of their day. The musical equivalent of the doily.

TYPEWRITERS The qwerty keyboard is designed to slow you down! But we are stuck with it now.

URBAN REGENERATION We need more industrial buildings turned into art galleries surrounded by coffee shops.

VOCABULARY Most people have a vocabulary of only 200 words.

WIND TURBINES All dummies. The sails are turned by clockwork motors.

More here, and links to the rest.

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