30 August 2009

from 'Are Women Human?' (Dorothy L. Sayers)

Let me give one simple illustration of the difference between the right and the wrong kind of feminism. Let us take this terrible business - so distressing to the minds of bishops - of the women who go about in trousers. We are asked: 'Why do you want to go about in trousers? They are extremely unbecoming to most of you. You only do it to copy the men.' To this we may very properly reply: 'It is true that they are unbecoming. Even on men they are remarkably unattractive. But, as you men have discovered for yourselves, they are comfortable, they do not get in the way of one's activities like skirts and they protect the wearer from draughts about the ankles. As a human being, I like comfort and dislike draughts. If the trousers do not attract you, so much the worse; for the moment I do not want to attract you. I want to enjoy myself as a human being, and why not? As for copying you, certainly you thought of trousers first and to that extent we must copy you. But we are not such abandoned copy-cats as to attach these useful garments to our bodies with braces. There we draw the line. These machines of leather and elastic are unnecessary and unsuited to the female form. They are, moreover, hideous beyond description. And as for indecency - of which you sometimes accuse the trousers - we at least can take our coats off without becoming the half-undressed, bedroom spectacle that a man presents in his shirt and braces.'

So that when we hear that women have once more laid hands upon something which was previously a man's sole privilege, I think we have to ask ourselves: is this trousers or is it braces? Is it something useful, convenient and suitable to a human being as such? Or is it merely something unnecessary to us, ugly, and adopted merely for the sake of collaring the other fellow's property? These jobs and professions, now. It is ridiculous to take on a man's job just in order to be able to say that 'a woman has done it - yah!' The only decent reason for tackling any job is that it is your job, and you want to do it.

16 August 2009

from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Primary Phase (Douglas Adams)

ZAPHOD: Trillian, the ship picked them up all by itself, right?


ZAPHOD: Right. So, that already gives us a high improbability factor. It picked them up in that particular space sector, which gives us another high improbability factor. Plus, they were not wearing spacesuits, so we picked them up during a crucial thirty-second period.

TRILLIAN: I’ve got a note for that factor here.

ZAPHOD: Yeah, put it all together and we have a total improbability of … yeah, well it’s pretty vast, but it’s not infinite. At what point did we actually pick them up?

TRILLIAN: At Infinite Improbability level.

ZAPHOD: Which leaves a very large improbability gap still to be filled. Look, they’re on their way up here now, aren’t they?


ZAPHOD: With that bloody robot. Can we pick them up on any monitor cameras?

TRILLIAN: I should think so.

[Camera is turned on]

MARVIN: … and then of course I’ve got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.

ARTHUR: Is that so?

MARVIN: Oh yes. I mean I’ve asked for them to be replaced, but no one ever listens.

ARTHUR: I can imagine.

TRILLIAN: Oh God, I don’t believe it!

FORD: Well, well, well. Zaphod Beeblebrox.

ZAPHOD: Faaaaaa!

[Camera is turned off]

ZAPHOD: I don’t believe it! This is just toooo amazing. Look, Trillian, I’ll just, er, handle this. Is anything wrong?

TRILLIAN: I think I’ll just wait in the cabin. I’ll be back in a minute.

ZAPHOD: Oh, this is gonna be great! I’m going to be so unbelievably cool about it, it would flummox a Vagan snow lizard. This is ter-rific! What will you call? Several out of ten million points for style!

TRILLIAN: Well, you enjoy yourself, Zaphod. I don’t see what’s so great myself. I’ll go and listen for the police on the sub-ether waveband.

ZAPHOD: Right. Which is the most nonchalant chair to be discovered working in? Yeah … OK.

DOOR: [Opens] Hummmm-yummm … Glad to be of service.

[MARVIN walks in]

MARVIN: I suppose you’ll want to see the aliens now. Do you want me to sit in a corner and rust, or just fall apart where I’m standing?

ZAPHOD: Show them in, please, Marvin!

[FORD and ARTHUR enter]

ZAPHOD: Ford. Hi. How are you? Glad you could drop in.

FORD: Zaphod, great to see you. You’re looking well … the extra arm suits you. Nice ship you’ve stolen.

ARTHUR: You mean you know this guy?!

Know him? He’s …! Oh Zaphod, this is a friend of mine, Arthur Dent. I saved him when his planet blew up.

ZAPHOD: Oh sure. Hi, Arthur. Glad you could make it.

FORD: And Arthur, this is my –

ARTHUR: We’ve met.

FORD: What?!

ZAPHOD: Oh, er … have we? Hey …

FORD: What do you mean you’ve met?! This is Zaphod Beeblebrox from Betelgeuse Five, you know, not, not bloody Martin Smith from Croydon!

ARTHUR: I don’t care; we’ve met. Haven’t we, Zaphod? Or should I say Phil?

FORD: What?!

ZAPHOD: Er ... y-you’ll have to remind me. I have a terrible memory for species.

ARTHUR: It was at a party.

ZAPHOD: I rather doubt it.

FORD: Cool it, will you, Arthur.

ARTHUR: A party six months ago … on Earth … England … London …


ARTHUR: Islington!

ZAPHOD: Oh – hey, that party…

FORD: Zaphod, you don’t mean to say you’ve been on that miserable little planet as well?

ZAPHOD: No, of course not. W-well, I may have just dropped in briefly... on my way somewhere…

FORD: What is all this Arthur?

ARTHUR: At this party there was a girl. I had my eye on her for weeks. Beautiful, charming, devastatingly intelligent, everything I’d been saving myself up for. And just when I’d finally managed to get her for myself for a few tender moments, this friend of yours barges up and says, ‘Hey doll, is this guy boring you? Come an’ talk to me. I’m from a different planet.’ I never saw her again.

FORD: Zaphod?!

ARTHUR: Yes. He only had the two arms and the one head and he called himself Phil, but –

TRILLIAN: But, you must admit that he did actually turn out to be from a different planet, Arthur.

ARTHUR: Good God, it’s her! Tricia McMillan! What are you doing here?

TRILLIAN: Same as you, Arthur. I hitched a ride. After all, with a degree in maths and another in astrophysics, it was either that or back to the dole queue on Monday. Oh, I’m sorry I missed that Wednesday lunch date, but I was in a black hole all morning.

ZAPHOD: Oh God! Ford this is Trillian. Hi. Trillian, this is my semi-cousin Ford who shares three of the same mothers as me. Hiii. Trillian, is this sort of thing gonna happen every time we use the Infinite Improbability Drive?

TRILLIAN: Very probably, I’m afraid.

ZAPHOD: Zaphod Beeblebrox, this is a very large drink ... Hi.

12 August 2009

from Medea, Bacchae etc. [probably] (Euripides)

καὶ τὰ δοκηθέντ’ οὐκ ἐτελέσθη,
τῶν δ’ ἀδοκήτων πόρον ηὗρε θεός.