2. Some fungi are not edible more than once."
Suppose an emperor was persuaded to wear a new suit of clothes whose material was so fine that, to the common eye, the clothes weren’t there. And suppose a little boy pointed out this fact in a loud clear voice…
Then you have The Story Of The Emperor Who Had No Clothes.
But if you knew a bit more, it would be The Story Of The Boy Who Got A Well-Deserved Thrashing From His Dad For Being Rude To Royalty, And Was Locked Up.
Or The Story Of The Whole Crowd That Was Rounded Up By The Guards And Told “This Didn’t Happen, Okay? Does Anyone Want To Argue?”
Or it could be a story of how a whole kingdom suddenly saw the benefits of the “new clothes,” and developed an enthusiasm for healthy sports in a lively and refreshing atmosphere that gets many new adherents every year, which led to a recession caused by the collapse of the conventional clothing industry.
It could even be a story about The Great Pneumonia Epidemic of ‘09."
Samuel Vimes dreamed about Clues.
He had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way.
And he distrusted the kind of man who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,” and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of bricklaying for a home barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen* and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of human experience!
It was the same way with more static evidence. The footprints in the flowerbed were probably in the real world left by the window-cleaner. The scream in the night was quite likely a man getting out of bed and stepping sharply on an upturned hairbrush.
The real world was far too real to leave neat little hints. It was full of too many things. It wasn’t by eliminating the impossible that you got at the truth, however improbable; it was by the much harder process of eliminating the possibilities. You worked away, patiently asking questions and looking hard at things. You walked and talked, and in your heart you just hoped like hell that some bugger’s nerve’d crack and he’d give himself up.
*These terms are often synonomous"
I can’t, I just can’t. XD
a BRILLIANT read, and even more incentive for me to make my own wizards trope-defying and excellent.
God it’s fascinating to look at the timestamp on this one and then realize that Pratchett went on to write his Witches Series and Granny Weatherwax, who’s strong and fierce and brilliant and austere and so achingly, bitterly, intensely good. I think Granny Weatherwax would give Gandalf a hard look and Gandalf would remember he had a very urgent appointment three shires away and stroll off really fast.
Holy fuck, everybody go read this right now.
Pratchett is one of the people whose work is not only hilarious, but legitimately brilliant. I learned so much from reading his books. Even this talk is peppered with the kind of thing that makes you snort out loud and get stared at by coworkers:
No wonder witches were always portrayed as toothless — it was living in a 90,000 calorie house that did it. You’d hear a noise in the night and it’d be the local kids, eating the doorknob.
And he fucking nails the witch/wizard dichotomy. Wizards = wise, powerful, organized, educated; witches = crones who give you warts. The Tiffany Aching series addresses this directly, as do the regular Discworld books focusing on the Lancre witches. Like Roach says, Granny Weatherwax is achingly, bitterly, intensely good, and that’s partly because she’s constantly aware of how easy it would be to be bad. How someone has to do the mucky jobs and help the obnoxious and stupid and never, ever take credit for anything you didn’t do; how the hardest thing is to stay balanced just on the edge between extremes, maintain that equilibrium, do what needs to be done no matter how awful or difficult it may be. Wizards never have to think about this. They just forge straight ahead, eating big dinners and squabbling amongst themselves and taking their power for granted.
Come to think of it, that’s one of the most significant divisions of power in Discworld: the men all gang up into this big elitist mob and loll around indolently, specifically not doing magic. Their magic is so powerful and dangerous that it’s a better use of their time to all keep each other down, all the wizard books basically revolve around ‘Oh no, someone’s doing magic, we’d better stomp them flat and then go home for second breakfast’. They keep the world from turning inside out but not much more than that, and they’re kind of a bunch of assholes about it too. Meanwhile the witches are just grimly slogging along, delivering babies and rousting out vampires and changing compresses, like, they stake out territories and then take care of everyone in it… while everyone still thinks that wizards are respectable and witches are shady.
The line about equal rites killed me, though. The insightful commentary (on the internet no less) here helped buffer that.
“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”"
Terry Pratchett, Men At Arms (via idrabear)
This is one of the best breakdowns I’ve ever seen of how expensive it is to be poor.
SERIOUSLY. Whenever people are like “BUY IN BULK! BETTER VALUE! CHEAPER IN THE LONG RUN!!!!!” it’s like HELLOOOO sometimes you haven’t got the money to buy more in one go.
Pratchett as always, words it best.