Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Voting for lizards

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

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

"No,” said Ford…”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 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?"


"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."

Ford shrugged again.

"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it.”

― Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

[h/t: Cindy Sheehan. If you've never read Douglas Adams's trilogy (beginning with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) I highly recommend it.]


james said...

It is really interesting, Jody, that when you put scenario in a science fiction context so that you have no personal investment in it, the ridiculousness, the ludicrousness, of our situation is even more readily apparent to the point it smacks you between the eyes. Thanks for putting it up.

Jody Paulson said...

You're welcome, James. Yes, it seems to me the world is getting more and more surreal ... Orwell, Huxley and Bradbury were prophets ...