Lizard Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
In Uganda, I wrote a questionaire that I had my research assistants give; on it, I asked about the embalasassa, a speckled lizard said to be poisonous and to have been sent by Prime minsister Milton Obote to kill Baganda in the late 1960s. It is not poisonous and was no more common in the 1960s than it had been in previous decades, as Makerere University science professors announced on the radio and stated in print... I wrote the question, What is the difference between basimamoto and embalasassa? Anyone who knows anything about the Bantu language-myself included-would know the answer was contained in the question: humans and reptiles are different living things and belong to different noun classes... A few of my informants corrected my ignorance... but many, many more ignored the translation in my question and moved beyond it to address the history of the constructs of firemen and poisonous lizards without the slightest hesitation. They disregarded language to engage in a discussion of events... My point is not about the truth of the embalasassa story... but rather that the labeling of one thing as 'true' and the other as 'fictive' or 'metaphorical'-all the usual polite academic terms for false-may eclipse all the intricate ways in which people use social truths to talk about the past. Moreover, chronological contradictions may foreground the fuzziness of certain ideas and policies, and that fuzziness may be more accurate than any exact historical reconstruction... Whether the story of the poisionous embalasassa was real was hardly the issue; there was a real, harmless lizard and there was a real time when people in and around Kampala feared the embalasassa. They feared it in part because of beliefs about lizards, but mainly what frightened people was their fear of their government and the lengths to which it would go to harm them. The confusions and the misunderstandings show what is important; knowledge about the actual lizard would not.

Luise White
It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see... " "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?" "No, " said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people." "Odd, " said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy." "I did, " said Ford. "It is." "So, " said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?" "It honestly doesn't occur to them, " said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want." "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?" "Oh yes, " said Ford with a shrug, "of course." "But, " said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?" "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, " said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?" "What?" "I said, " said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?" "I'll look. Tell me about the lizards." Ford shrugged again. "Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them, " he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it." "But that's terrible, " said Arthur. "Listen, bud, " said Ford, "if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say 'That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.

Douglas Adams
Not one word was said by Moses or Aaron as to the wickedness of depriving a human being of his liberty. Not a word was said in favor of liberty. Not the slightest intimation that a human being was justly entitled to the product of his own labor. Not a word about the cruelty of masters who would destroy even the babes of slave mothers. It seems to me wonderful that this God did not tell the king of Egypt that no nation could enslave another, without also enslaving itself; that it was impossible to put a chain around the limbs of a slave, without putting manacles upon the brain of the master. Why did he not tell him that a nation founded upon slavery could not stand? Instead of declaring these things, instead of appealing to justice, to mercy and to liberty, he resorted to feats of jugglery. Suppose we wished to make a treaty with a barbarous nation, and the president should employ a sleight-of-hand performer as envoy extraordinary, and instruct him, that when he came into the presence of the savage monarch, he should cast down an umbrella or a walking stick, which would change into a lizard or a turtle; what would we think? Would we not regard such a performance as beneath the dignity even of a president? And what would be our feelings if the savage king sent for his sorcerers and had them perform the same feat? If such things would appear puerile and foolish in the president of a great republic, what shall be said when they were resorted to by the creator of all worlds? How small, how contemptible such a God appears!

Robert G. Ingersoll
New Rule: Never underestimate the ability of a tiny fringe group of losers to ruin everything. We've all been laughing heartily at the wacky antics of the "birthers"-the far-right goofballs who claim Obama wasn't really born in Hawaii, and therefore the job of the president goes to the runner-up, Miss California Carrie Prejean. And there's nothing you can do to convince these people-you could hand them, in person, the original birth certificate, with the placenta, and have a video of Obama emerging from the womb with Don Ho singing in the background... and they still wouldn't believe it. Hey, birthers, wanna hear my theory? My theory is Obama was born in America, and your were born with the umbilical cord around your neck. I don't know what his mother was doing when she was pregnant, but I'm pretty sure yours was drinking. Oh, I kid the birthers, and actually, there is one thing that makes me think they could be right: We're Americans; of course we're gonna hire an illegal alien to clean up. I'm joking, of course, and laughing it off has also been the reaction from Democratic leaders so far, proving that Democrats never learn: In America, if you don't immediately kill arrant bullshit, no matter how ridiculous, it can grow and thrive and eventually take over, like crabgrass or Cirque du Soleil. This might be a deluded, time-wasting right-wing obsession, but so was Whitewater, and look where that ended up. Liberals said, "Oh, what're they gonna do, keep expanding the case until they impeach the president over a blow job?" I'm telling you, in America, there is no idea so patently absurd that it can't catch on. For example, have you ever met a Mormon? More recently, we had the Swift Boat allegations against John Kerry, making him, a genuine war hero, into a coward in a race against a guy who never left Texas-this was so stupid that Kerry refused to even discuss it. And we all know how well that worked out. You may ask, how does something as inane as Whitewater or Swift Board or the "birther" phenomenon gain traction? I'll tell you how: the same way the story about Elton John almost dying from ingesting too much of Rod Stewart's sperm gained traction in my high school: dummies talking to other dummies. It's just easier now because of the Internet and because our mainstream media does such a lousy job of speaking the truth to stupid. Lou Dobbs said recently, "People are asking a lot of questions about the birth certificate." Yes, the same people who want to know where the sun goes at night, and where to put the stamp on their e-mail. And, Lou, you're their new king. That's why it's so important that we the few, the proud, the "reality-based, " attack this stuff before it has a chance to fester and spread. It's not a case of Democrats vs. Republicans. It's sentient beings vs. the Lizard People, and it is to them I offer this deal: I'll show you President Obama's birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin's high school diploma.

Bill Maher
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