I’m in the mood for some Dorothy Parker.

This poem expresses my fundamental attitude toward the world.


If I had a shiny gun,
I could have a world of fun
Speeding bullets through the brains
Of the folk who give me pains;

Or had I some poison gas,
I could make the moments pass
Bumping off a number of
People whom I do not love.

But I have no lethal weapon-
Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
So they still are quick and well
Who should be, by rights, in hell.

And this poem entails an interesting little paradox:

Superfluous Advice

Should they whisper false of you.
Never trouble to deny;
Should the words they say be true,
Weep and storm and swear they lie.

Suppose one declares that one endorses the advice given in this poem. And then suppose someone utters something nasty about one. It seems to me that if one remains silent, then the combination of the remaining silent and the declaration of endorsement counts as the claim that the nastiness is false — that is, as a denial. And the denial counts as an acknowledgment that the nastiness is true. The paradox may also exist the other way around, if one denies, though the leaps of reasoning are even larger there.


One Response to “I’m in the mood for some Dorothy Parker.”

  1. eric Says:

    If Dorothy Parker were a high school student, she’d doubtless be expelled and committed to a psychiatric institution for writing that first poem.

Leave a Comment