Thursday, April 01, 2004

Some More Leacock

Today Brian Dijkema shared one of Stephen Leacock's absolutely hilarious stories with me - the one about the fifty-six dollar deposit in the bank, if that means anything to you.

Here is some more Leacock:

Mr. Malthus (just the opening, it's a long poem. You all know Thomas Malthus, right? He's the famous professor of political economy and clergyman who taught that the earth could only support so many people)

"Mother, Mother, here comes Malthus,
Mother, hold me tight!
Look! It's Mr. Malthus, Mother!
Hide me out of sight."
This was the cry of little Jane
In bed she moaning lay,
Delirious with Stomach Pain,
That would not go away.
All because her small Existence
Over-pressed upon Subsistence;
Human Numbers didn't need her;
Human Effort couldn't feed her.
Little Janie didn't know
The Geometric Ratio.
Poor Wee Janie had never done
Course Economics No. 1;
Never reached in Education
Theories of Population, --
Theories which tend to show
Just how far our Food will go,
Mathematically found
Just enough to go around.
This, my little Jane, is why
Pauper Children have to die.
Pauper Children underfed
Die delirious in Bed;
Thus at Malthus's Command
Match Supply with true Demand.
Jane who should have gently died
Started up and wildly cried, --

The Social Plan

I know a very tiresome man
Who keeps on saying "social plan."
At every dinner, every talk
where men foregather, eat or walk,
No matter where -- this Awful Man
Brings on his goddam Social Plan.

The Fall in Wheat, the Rise in Bread,
The social breakers dead ahead,
The economic paradox
That drives the nation on the rocks,
The wheels that false abundance clogs --
And frightens us from raising hogs, --
This dreary field, the Gloomy Man
surveys and hiccoughs, the Social Plan.

Till simpler men begin to find
His croaking aggravates their mind,
And makes them anxious to avoid
All mention of the Unemployed
And leads them even to abhor
The people called the Deserving Poor
For me, my sympathies now pass
To the poor Plutocratic Class.
The crowd that now appeals to me
Is what he calls the Bourgeoisie.

So I have a Social Plan
To take him by the Neck,
and lock him in a luggage van
and tie on it a check
Now, how's that for a Social Plan?

Some Leacock quotes:

"If I were founding a university I would begin with a smoking room; next a dormitory; and then a decent reading room and a library. After that, if I still had more money that I couldn't use, I would hire a professor and get some text books."

"A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries better."

"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it."

"I detest life-insurance agents; they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so."

"Newspapermen learn to call a murderer 'an alleged murderer' and the King of England 'the alleged King of England' to avoid libel suits."

"Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl. "

"Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions." - actually that's from a story he wrote called Nonsense Novels.

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