Sunday, 31 May 2020

The World Is Going To Literate Dogs

Updated: February 8, 2014 3:05 pm

BELIEVE it or not,—Satiricus believes not—there is a dog that knows basic English grammar! As if it was not bad enough that the world was going to the dogs, it now seems the world is going to literate dogs. This particular dog in America (where else?), says a report, has not only learnt and remembered one thousand proper nouns, it “has also grasped some of the finer points of English grammar, such as syntax and semantics”. Now, it is well known that America and England are divided by the same language, so the question here is, has this English-knowing dog learnt English English or American English? That is an important point for Satiricus, for he would like to recommend that our editor recruit him for his editorial staff. As this dog knows basic English, he would be a good addition to the basically bad English that is the hallmark of Indian English journalism.

But in all probability the editor would reject Satiricus’s suggestion. He may well argue—and he would have a point there—that his esteemed readers are familiar with bad English English, so why change over to bad American English? A far more important point is, we are Macaulay’s Manas-putras, who made us “complete” Indians by bestowing upon us the heavenly gift of English education, and Macaulay was as English as fish and chips, then can we disown him and change over to an English that would be as American as apple pie? Oh, well, it all depends on what dogs do—when dogged by the dilemma of learning English but living in America.



Smarter Who?


BEING a human being, Satiricus always thought he was smarter than an animal. But the other day a report from Australia bluntly asked him—“you think you are smarter than animals?” And it gave the answer in an equally blunt heading—“Humans are not smarter than animals.” Satiricus was shocked, but the wretched report rudely remarked that humans have been deceiving themselves for thousands of years that they are smarter than the rest of the animal kingdom despite growing evidence to the contrary, scientists say. Omigod! This would mean Satiricus is scientifically more dim-witted than a donkey and/or more assinine than an ass. Wait, wait! Isn’t there a peculiar paradox somewhere here? The scientists who have found that humans are not smarter than animals are themselves human, then don’t they have to be smarter than animals to find out that humans, including scientists themselves, are not smarter than animals?

Actually they seem to be sufficiently smart to say, “Science tells us that animals can have cognitive faculties that are superior to human beings.” Translated into English this means, between us and them, they are smarter than us. Here Satiricus recalls that as an undergraduate student of English literature he had visited satirist Jonathan Swift’s imaginary world of a species of civilized horses called ‘Yahoo’, making the point that Yahumanity was better than Humanity. Looking back to that fiction Satiricus now thinks it may well be a fact stranger than fiction. For is it not natural that a horse would have horse-sense? And then can Satiricus be faulted for not having the sense of a horse when he is not a horse? Anyway, for safety’s sake Satiricus has decided not to keep even a pussy as a pet. Who knows, the pussy might produce better trash than this column.



 Disgustological Doctrine


SATIRICUS has made a disgusting discovery. It is that there is a brand-new science called Disgustology, and there is a lady ‘Disgustologist’ in London who learnedly explains how disgust governs our lives—dictating how we eat, wear, buy, and even how we vote. Dwelling on the delights of disgustology, she says, “Disgust is fascinating, because it is a model emotion.” Well, now, Satiricus knows that he is not exactly a model citizen, but he did not know that that was because he was not disgusted enough to be a model person. But is Satiricus a disgusting dimwit? He doubts. True, he has not duly delved into the depths of the dogmas of disgustology. Perhaps it is time he looked into what the learned lady has laid down. Her first disgusting or disgustful or disgustological doctrine is about disgust dictating how we eat. Frankly this puzzles Satiricus. For despite being a disgusting dolt Satiricus would have thought disgust dictates not what he would eat but what he would not eat. For example, he would never eat his words, which is the politician’s disgusting daily diet. As for being dictated what to wear, he would not wear the white cap that is useful for making black money. And as for what to buy, Satiricus is not in the market for MPs and MLAs as he does not know the going rate at which they can be bought as cattle. The only delightful disgust for Satiricus is the way to vote. Here he agrees with that wit who said, “Hey, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.”


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