Meet Mr Inquisitor [Redux]
The Inquisition is not entirely infallible. Due to ominous CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL there's been a slight delay in questioning some of those braving the most uncomfortable chair around. Fear not though, for mere inconveniences such as bills, modems and degrees have not been enough to stop us tracking down our subject. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce SWL.
Well, SWL, as a lurker in the Forum I must confess this encounter is one that the Inquisition has been secretly hoping for for a long time... I take it that if I asked you your thoughts on the theory that 'the history of society is an inevitable progression towards communism', your answer would be a variant of the phrase 'How wrong can one phrase be?'
Why thank you, Mr Inquisitor. May I just say it is a pleasure to be here and this leather chair is exceptionally comfortable. What are the straps for, exactly?
The history of societies is indeed a series of progressions towards Communism. Or Socialism or Liberalism, whatever label you care to give it. All three can only come about once a certain standard in society has been reached. Civilisations, empires and societies all rise — plateau — then fall. They are built on vigorous nationalism, leading to expansion and technological growth. However, once a certain point is reached they lose their vigour and raison d'etre. People start to look to their own comforts and begin nit-picking the little inequalities. Inevitably, once a society reaches this phase of navel-gazing, there will be another society on the rise, ready to take the place of the original. History is littered with examples. The Romans, the Greeks, the Byzantines. The 19th Century was British, the 20th was American, the 21st will be Indian or Chinese.
So when you say 'the history of society is an inevitable progression towards communism', you are really saying that communism is an indicator of decline.
An interesting take. On to less weighty matters though. Your email address suggests you're a fan of a certain alcoholic beverage. Care to make any whisky-based recommendations for the Inquisitor on a budget to relax after a tough afternoon's questioning?
Actually, I never touch the stuff. The e-mail address came about because I used to sell a case or six to retailers and they gave me the nickname. However, I did learn a thing or two. When buying whisky it's important to remember two things. The higher the grain content and the shorter the period of maturation, the harsher the whisky is going to be. This is fine if you're alternating it with beer, but taken on its own, it's best to go for a good malt. The best malt for women is MaCallan as it's quite sweet. For men, Highland Park is acknowledged as one of the best. A good compromise is the Glenlivet. Not Glenfiddich as this is an example of marketing triumphing over quality. If you are under 21, it is advisable to stay away from whisky. Studies have shown that people who have a bad experience of whisky never try it again. This is why all whisky advertising is specifically aimed at over-25s.
However, for those who do not like whisky I would say to persevere. There are hundreds of different whiskies, all with different flavours. It's not that you don't like whisky — it's just that you haven't found the whisky for you yet.
I'll have to take a trip or three to the off-licence to verify those claims, so I hope you'll forgive me if the questioning becomes more random and/or slurred. You claim to be an expert at putting your foot in your mouth. Does that mean that you're a highly flexible yoga-type person?
I'm sure my claims of being able to put my foot in my mouth have been more than adequately verified by many, many Researchers following the threads.
I don't do yoga. In fact, I don't do any health foods.
I suppose said same Researchers might go by the mantra 'If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all.' We here at the Inquisition think that phrase is boring and dull. What do you think?
Au contraire, mon petite cherie.
It's been said by many that they join h2g2 debates precisely because within their circle of friends in real life, views and opinions are known beforehand. Their friends tend to hold the same views and outlook on life. After all, that is why they are friends. h2g2 allows people to ask the difficult questions, to seek points of views held by a wider cross-section of the public. If all of your friends are dog lovers, they may not be the best people to ask about the pitfalls of breeding Siamese cats. Or your friends may all be limp-wristed, liberal/socialist bed-wetters, in which case they may not want to know that you favour the death penalty for people who spit out gum in the street.
We can hear all the nice things from our friends in the real world. h2g2 is where you should hear the plain, unvarnished reality. So if you've got something nice to say, don't bother.
In a recent interview, Master B revealed a list of people he'd like to give a swift and severe kicking. In a similar vein, are there any offences along with gum-spitting that should carry the death penalty?
Well, as you know, I'm a level-headed chap not prone to hasty reactions and I don't approve of the death penalty. It's too quick and not painful enough. I favour imprisonment until death in a 6 x 8 concrete cubicle with no natural light, a concrete plinth for a bed and a hedgehog for a pillow. Good candidates for this would be:
Anyone who says 'innit'.
Anyone who doesn't wash their hands after using the loo.
Anyone who thinks that two bright lights on the front of their car isn't enough.
Anyone who thinks deodorant is a substitute for soap.
Anyone who thinks 'Kiss' by Prince is a good song.
I'm sure all would agree that is a fair and just punishment for some heinous offences. I'd also suggest a place for anyone backing up an argument in the pub with the words 'Wikipedia says...' In case of a sudden zombie invasion, would you reach for a chainsaw, a shotgun1 or a cushion?
Oh definitely a cushion, but only if it was big enough to hide behind. Haven't you noticed that zombies only spot you when you scream or jump around? I reckon that if everybody stood still during a zombie invasion, they'd all get bored and go back to their graves.
It's not a theory I'd like to test, to be honest. In the past few months, there seems to have been a backlash in some parts of the community against the Peer Review process. As someone who's managed to get one of the most amusing entries I’ve read for a while into the EG, do you think claims that PR works against 'quirky' entries are fair?
I think the problem is that you can't do quirky by committee. One man's amusing quirk is another man's distracting irrelevance. What I would say is that the 'Skin a Cat' entry was much improved by the PR process, helping to round out the piece and make it more accessible. It's important to remember that you don't have to change every little thing to please every single person.
If a piece is just silly for the sake of being silly, it really has no place in the Guide IMHO. However, if a dry and unpalateable subject can be enlivened with humour, then go for it.
I try to write as if DNA were looking over my shoulder, hopefully chortling merrily but learning something as he chuckles.
Okay, it's time for my traditional Fight Question™. In a contest to successfully chat up the most women in a night, would a Star Trek obsessive be more successful than a Star Wars obsessive?
Well, I suppose it depends on the chatter-upee. If they are the type who like the more rough and ready Star Wars types, devoid of style but brimming with élan, then the Star Trek obsessive has little chance. However the smooth, sophisticated style of the Trekkie will always win the better class of lady.
It is important to remember that the type attracted to the Star Wars obsessives are far more likely to 'put out', so lower numbers might be counterbalanced by a higher strike rate.
Notwithstanding the fact that the one with the biggest cock will always get the most girls, irrespective of their SF affectations.
A Star Wars obsessive with a big member will win this contest, hands down.
Well we're running out of space here, so it's time to wheel out my high-handed morality for the predictably random penultimate question! So, SWL, in your opinion, is there a more hypocritical man on the planet than Bono2 of U2?
A famous beardy once said, 'Let he who has never done something a bit dodgy throw the first brickbat'. Profound words indeed, hinting at a depth of wisdom and arcane knowledge of intelligence far beyond our ken. Over the centuries, academics and bar-room philosophers have endlessly debated the point. The explorer Marco Golf, brother in law of Marco Polo, spent his entire life criss-crossing the planet in search of the answer. He died a bitter and twisted man but with a heckuva collection of postcards. It is rumoured that the team from Bletchley Park who cracked the Enigma codes in WWII went on to study this. But even they, the finest minds of a generation, were forced to admit they had no idea what a brickbat was.
What was the question again?
They never actually found the question, just the answer. Anyway, it looks like your time in the hotseat is up, so as tradition dictates I have to ask one final question. What's the most important thing you've learnt through being a member of h2g2?
Edgar Allan Poe obviously foresaw h2g2 when he wrote 'Is all that we see or seem/But a dream within a dream?'
Thanks to a philosophical SWL. Coming up for your entertainment, the Inquisition are working on broelan, Danny B, Milla and Axmili. Scandalously, Roymondo and Brown Eyed Girl seem to have escaped our clutches, although I am reliably informed that the net is closing in on Mr. Dreadful. If you want to volunteer for the Inquisition, inform us of someone you'd like to see in the chair, or just find a postal address to send cheques to, contact me at MrInquisitorRedux [AT] hotmail [DOT] co [DOT] uk. Until next time, I've been Mr Inquisitor and you've been wondering what the word 'Redux' means. Tu heel k'iin3.