Posted by: Gregoryno6 | October 28, 2012

If I might have a word…

Philip Hensher on handwriting:

We have surrendered our handwriting for something more mechanical, less distinctively human, less telling about ourselves and less present in our moments of the highest happiness and the deepest emotion. Ink runs in our veins, and shows the world what we are like.

Hensher reminded me of a conversation at a former place of employment. The boss was going through the mail, and found another letter and resume from a hopeful jobseeker. (I say ‘another’, because he’d had at least one previous to this: mine.)
Resumes seem to go from one extreme to the other: either as much detail as possible, or as little detail as possible. Full detail was currently the fashion and the sender used up several pages of A4 explaining that they’d been a university student for four years. And worked the counter at McDonald’s.
But the real chance-killer for this hopeful was their application letter. ‘Have a look,’ the boss said as he passed it around. ‘What do you notice?’
Without trying, I hit the jackpot. ‘It’s a bit cold,’ I said, ‘without a signature.’
‘Exactly,’ he replied. ‘Straight out of the copier into the envelope. No personal touch to it at all.


If communicating with other people is difficult, communicating with other species remains an impossibility.

I had the chance to watch Project Nim last night. Had it been released at any time except last year, it would have gained the audience it deserved. Unfortunately, the attention all went to a far inferior movie.

Rise Of The etc etc cites only the original novella by Pierre Boulle, but there’s much of Nim’s story to be found in its tale of a chimp raised in a human household and then exiled to a less pleasant place. Although the gulf between the reality and the fiction was rarely wider or deeper than in the conclusion. Caesar, leader of an animal Occupy movement, utters three words. Nim, having acquired a lengthy vocabulary of signs and gestures, made his grand statement in Give orange me give eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me you. Which doesn’t exactly put us on the path to the collected works of Shakespeare.

In-depth communication with even our closest genetic relatives remains only a dream. Still, we want to believe.

And scientists are as prone to wishful thinking as the rest of us. Personally, I’m skeptical about this recording of a whale supposedly imitating humans.


How ironic, though, that we persist in trying to talk to animals when our freedoms to talk with each other are in danger.

The Circus of Ineptitude in Canberra has basically grown tired of being ridiculed for its incompetence, and excoriated for the internal corruption it refuses to acknowledge. Elsewhere, religious sensibilities are being exploited. Perhaps I should say ‘selected religious sensibilities’. After all, the Christian churches endured both The Life of Brian and The Last Temptation of Christ without violent retribution – they’ve even survived this.

Courtesy of the IPA’s Freedom Watch page, here’s Rowan Atkinson giving a serve to those who think free speech is an optional extra.


  1. Brilliantly put, Greg. “Selected religious sensibilities,” indeed. Great post – and if the Christians can survive Monty Python and other works…well, I don’t know why I’m thinking of the word sniveling pantywaist right now.

    • And let’s not forget the fun that South Park had with Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Have they come out of the closet yet?

      • Look, if every other religion/cult can take their knocks…if someone can’t take it, I’d say, Romani Ite Domum.

        Except we’re not exactly talking about Romans.

        • Isn’t it interesting, though, how UNbelief doesn’t attract the same sort of ridicule?
          Henny Youngman told the only joke I’ve ever heard on the subject:
          I was an atheist for a while, but I gave it up. You don’t get any holidays.

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