Archive for March 31st, 2006

Pure Tripe in Triplicate

Now I don’t happen to agree with Blind Melon, for instance, that three is a magic number, but it is certainly a most effective one for ordering one’s ideas. Examples:

Past, Present, Future;
Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité;
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness;
Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter;
Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis;
Too Hot, Too Cold, Just Right;

and, as one Dublin coffee house has it, Small, Tall and, eh, Grande.

When someone starts paragraphs with ‘Fourth’, or ‘Fifth’, we can be reasonably sure that they are over-egging the pudding.

Another example:

Just as there are three lions on an English football shirt, one can discern three phases in Irish attitudes to the English national football team.

The first, which can be called the colonial phase, is when the Irish person wants England to lose, because the team is a kind of symbol of the awful British Empire.

The second, which can be called the nationalist phase, is when the Irish person is conscious of the narrow-mindedness inherent in the first phase, is proud of his own national team, and recognises the English team as just another national team in the great symphony of global football. Given its proximity to Ireland, and the intertwined history of both islands, especially in football, the Irish person wishes to see the English team do well.

The third phase, call it the liberationist phase, is when the Irish person no longer concerns himself with the specific relationship between Ireland and England, and either adopts a stance of vague indifference, or freely joins with the rest of the world in wanting England to lose.

Og On The Blog

Before blogging, Ogden Nash understood the blogger’s condition:

‘O all ye exorcizers come and exorcize now, and ye clergymen draw nigh and clerge,
For I wish to be purged of an urge.
It is an irksome urge, compounded of nettles and glue,
And it is turning all my friends back into acquaintances, and all my acquaintances into people who look the other way when I heave into view.
It is an indication that my mental buttery is butterless and my mental larder lardless,
And it consists not of “Stop me if you’ve heard this one,” but of “I know you’ve heard this one because I told it to you myself, but I’m going to tell it to you again regardless,”
Yes I fear I am living beyond my mental means.
When I realize that it is not only anecdotes that I reiterate but what is far worse, summaries of radio programs and descriptions of cartoons in newspapers and magazines.
I want to resist but I cannot resist recounting the bright sayins of celebrities that everybody already is familiar with every word of; I want to refrain but cannot refrain from telling the same audience on two successive evenings the same little snatches of domestic gossip about people I used to know that they have never heard of.
When I remember some titlating episode of my childhood I figure that if it’s worth narrating once it’s worth narrating twice, in spite of lackluster eyes and dropping jaws,
And indeed I have now worked my way backward from titllating episodes in my own childhood to titillating episodes in the childhood of my parents or even my parents-in-laws,
And what really turns my corpuscles to ice,
I carry around clippings and read them to people twice.
And I know what I am doing while I am doing it and I don’t want to do it but I can’t help doing it and I am just another Ancient Mariner,
And the prospects for my future social life couldn’t possibly be barrener.
Did I tell you that the prospects for my future social life couldn’t be barrener?’

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March 2006