I am astonished to find myself referenced in Wikipedia. The following text appears in a discussion about Adolf Hitler amid the reference-desk entries on Christmas Day:

“There are plenty of web pages that proposed that Hitler was the most evil human being that ever lived, e.g. [1]

The footnote links directly to a post I wrote over two years’ ago, in which I did not argue that Hitler was the most evil human that ever lived. I merely short-listed him in the top three. The silly clots must have linked to my essay without reading beyond the first paragraph. Once again, the bogus scholarship and slipshod methods of this electronic encyclopeestain are exposed.

It’s a pity the dilettante who referenced my piece didn’t study it properly, for he would have found a profound meditation on the nature of evil, the flaws in consequentialist moral theories, and the unparalleled wickedness of Captain Black, Mysteron agent (pictured above).

It’s annoying to have one’s argument misrepresented, and I regret that this is typical of the way humans behave when tackling a controversial subject. They pretend to know more than they actually do; they cite sources which don’t say what they claim; they hiss and piss like snakes in a hissing-and-pissing content. That’s why I choose my words very carefully when commenting on topics that agitate my hairless cousins.

Here’s an example of what I mean. A retired British army major asked me a question about the European Union last year. He said that although he’d voted to join Europe over 30 years’ ago, he was now having second thoughts. Apparently, a Bulgarian man had stared at his wife while massaging his groin in Weston-super-Mare. (I assumed the Major wasn’t referring to his own groin, as he would have surely whacked the man with his cane.)

“You seem like a wise ape, Bananas,” he said. “Do you think we British should leave the EU and banish the Bulgarians from our shore?”

It would have been all too easy to answer him off the top of my head, clouding the issue with spurious waffle about the Mousetrick Treaty, Mandy Peterson and the integrity of the British sausage. But I refused to countenance such a masquerade and replied as follows:

“Frankly, Major, I don’t know. This is not a question that can be settled by wisdom alone. One must first assemble the facts and then weigh the pros and cons. How many groin-rubbing Bulgarians are counterbalanced by one Polish builder? How does the meat content of the British sausage compare with its German counterpart? Which course of action would most annoy the French? I’m afraid you will have to sort this one out for yourself.”

The Major nodded gravely in appreciation of my honest circumspection. “There is much in what you say, Bananas,” he replied, “but who can be trusted to give us the unvarnished facts?”

I stroked my chin and answered as follows: “As I see it, Major, no one with a strong opinion can be trusted, even if that opinion happens to be correct, for strong opinions originate in gall bladder. Seek out the diffident scholar, pottering about in the college library, who studies the current squabbles of humanity as if they were battles between Romans and Carthaginians.”

The military man thanked me for my advice and drew up a target list of universities. For my own part, I hope that I am never asked to adjudicate a human dispute. It is forbidden for the gorilla to change the course of human history, and vexatious for him to check all the sources to determine who the bigger humbuggers are. If it ever came to pass, I would be forced to put on my black circus robe and hold court, picking apart the evidence submitted by both sides – but under no circumstances would I wear a wig.

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