Flung Forth

The Paradox Joke

The paradox joke is an interesting subgenre of the study of humour though the ages, it is a joke that not only relies on a historic setting, but is either of a modern style or phrased anachronistically. They were first heard from the stand-up comedians of the 1960s, part of the boom in theatre-based entertainment as a distraction from the increasingly dangerous ‘Steel Roses’ civil war to the north. It is said they predate this, however, and were a favourite of the German statesman Adolf Hitler before his untimely assassination in the early 30s.

It is somewhat ironic that some of those original paradox jokes were written and told in a time that paradox jokes are now created using. Of other historical note is that these acts never took root in – what is now – the Free Republic of Yorkshire. This historian believes that had they – the Yorks – taken the time to attempt to understand the down-to-earth South-Eastern humour these jokes represent, the entire civil war could have been avoided, and names like John ‘President’ Prescott would not strike so much fear into hearts today.

This modern classic of the genre – subgenre, as is argued – is this 1960s set joke in the now-ubiquitous “Yo Mamma” format, thus:

“Yo Mamma so busty even her shopping is 36d”

Flung Forth

Vanishing Point

Transcript begins.

ROSS: Our final guest this evening was, we must admit, booked in something of a hurry. His controversial claims earlier this week have seen his image explode onto all our screens and images, I’m told that within six hours of the original announcement he had nine web sites dedicated to his claims, both for, against and impartial. He is the newest mystic of our age, he wrote The Lucient Announcement, please welcome Philip Lucient…

(Light cue 42, Sound cue: MysticMegRemix7, Audience applause)

LUCIENT: Um… Good Evening… People. Sorry, I’m not quite used to dealing with… you know, crowds like this. Large crowds. It’s all fairly new.

ROSS: You published your first essay on your new theory on your weblog last week, didn’t you? Viewers can see the “earl”[SP?] across the bottom of the screen now. Caused quite a stir in the local community, but not the sort of thing that hits the mainstream, generally. Explain to us what happened.

LUCIENT: It wasn’t the first announcement, not really. I’ve mentioned it before to groups, and people… They’re the ones who eventually got me to submit it officially, really. The labs I sent it to couldn’t find any flaws, which was, kind of, the thing. The thing I was announcing, I mean. That the flaws weren’t there, that I was… well, right about it and everything.

ROSS: Everything being?

LUCIENT: That there’s a thing, an ability, within people and cultures to selectively erase bits of history from the collective mind, and somehow to alter reality so that it never happened. I can’t tell – from this side – whether it removes the evidence itself, or just puts into the cultural mind that anything to do with this can be treated as fictional… it could be either.

ROSS: So you can alter history. How?

LUCIENT: It’s all in the paper, really. I’ve made a point of not announcing the method generally, because until we know it works, it’s kind of irresponsible to put it into the general public’s hands. The paper has quite detailed instructions, though.

ROSS: But you understand that many people are skeptical.

LUCIENT: There is a trend in the modern age for a lack of wonder, lest you be branded an optimist. Nobody believes in anything anymore, and those who do are labeled fools. Fair enough, we as a public have been taken for idiots by the increasingly underhanded methods of everyone who provides content. Cynic used to be an insult, a dog who would growl at everything and trust nobody, now it’s a badge of pride, of protection against a world trying to fool us. Trust someone. If you cannot trust the published, reputable scientists who I selected to test this work, write to me and I will send you the paper – less the instructions.

ROSS: You certainly appear more confident.

LUCIENT: It is my… my work. I am less confident in Philip Lucient than I am in my work, which is provably… provably true.

ROSS: You have said you would provide us with some demonstrations.

LUCIENT: I have, but this is the last time I shall do so. I have come to the conclusion that some people will not be convinced until I remove their own personal demons. For a crowd in Cambridge I removed the island of Atlantis and its fate, for London King Arthur is no more. I have said I will restore these in a week, but I am finding that nobody remembers the existed in the first place. The trouble with erasing history is, I think, that you cannot prove it. The deeper something is in our culture, and the more physical evidence we have for it, the harder it is to remove. I chose those examples today because they have remained in our culture as fiction and as legend. Smaller things that have been taken this way leave no trace. Most people, for example.

ROSS: How about religion? How can people know that the basis for their religion hasn’t been removed?

LUCIENT: They can only have my word that I haven’t done it. The technique isn’t complicated, however, and may have existed before.

ROSS: We asked our audience to give us some examples of things we would like put into Room 101, and have selected some random ones. If you could explain the conditions of the demonstration.

LUCIENT: I assume you mean the BBC’s Room 101, and not Orwell’s. Very well. I have said that if someone can provide me with something that doesn’t work, that proves my theory wrong, I shall withdraw the entire thing, and the world shall hear nothing more from Philip Lucient or his insane technique. I will never again practice this technique. On conditions, there are these: I cannot remove fictional people, and I will not remove those in power or involved in this production.

ROSS: The first example is “The Principle Cold Fusion”.

LUCIENT: One I was sure would come up at some point. I will restore these at the end of the show, obviously. People watching now should be aware of the change after it has been made, but not for long. Thus:


ROSS: That was… wow. This actually works. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to say that this actually does work. We may have to stop…

LUCIENT: The next example, please. It is important that people remember this. Nasty, isn’t it? Feeling history slip from you is a feeling most unpleasant, like the slithering end of a very long dream. Next.

ROSS: The next paper says “The Satirist S. Morgenstern”

LUCIENT: Very well. Thus:


ROSS: (gulps) Erk. That was… wow.

LUCIENT: The third.

ROSS: We should end now. This is enough, people will remember.

LUCIENT: They will. The third, please.

ROSS: If you insist. The third is “The con artist Philip Lucient”


LUCIENT: Technically, a designation that doesn’t exist, and something I should have woven into the original conditions…

ROSS: You should count as involved with the production, or some…(INTERRUPTED)

LUCIENT: however. Thus:

Flung Forth

The Steam Powered Arse

I built, from me parts, a steam-powered arse
for mine was blown up in a war.
It had copper pegs where it plugged to me legs.
And was shiny where the old one was sore.

It was made out of brass, my steam powered arse,
and a furnace was built in the back.
Where the fuel was all thrown, to burn on its own,
and keep me legs pumping on track.

I went pretty fast, with my steam powered arse,
pumping me legs like a motor
And with attached flappers could swim like the clappers,
Go faster than any old boater.

Something of a farse, my steam powered arse,
caused when I went out in the rain.
As the surface was hot – not a little, a lot.
So I looked like a moving steam train.

A quick advanced class, is my steam powered arse,
and me missus, she speedily learns
That when – as we might – get frisky at night,
it may inflict third degree burns.

So my question to you, and please answer it do
Is what might me and my long-term beloved.
Do that enhances, love with steam-powered arses,
without getting all hot and bothered?