Wednesday 27 April 2011

Seductio ad Absurdum

After reading von Clausewitz’s statement that “war is a mere continuation of politics by other means,” Algernon Swift’s rakish brother, Archibald, determines to try his hand at making love by other means. He calls on the virtuous Tilly and extravagantly compliments the furnishings of her sitting room. “How beautifully your curtains hang!” he exclaims. “How delicate your doilies and anti-macassars!” Tilly is unmoved. Archibald reaches boldly forward and gives the upholstered arm of an armchair a squeeze. Tilly blushes. Seizing the moment, Archibald opens his violin case and starts to play. “A skilled violinist can play the violin like it is a violin,” he mutters suavely. Tilly collapses on the floor, a trembling wreck, and holds on for dear life to the standard lamp.

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