May 13, 2005 01:57 | Bits / Confession / Culture / Stories

Yes, Minister

It always seemed rather strange to even myself that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this British political satire situation comedy. The writing was simply superb, the characters equally profoundly witty, when not nit-witted, and the clever pace helped via laughter, one's supper along it's digestion route.

B's in hoity-toity complicated english mode...

I think the only other person I've ever met who let alone knew the show, but also enjoyed it's ludic linguistics, was Anders.

This evening, however, I stumbled upon a weblog simply titled " - a weblog in logic, philosophy of logic, and the philosophy of language". (I think, Anders, you will like this too.) Amongst the very, um, yes, how shall I say, profund (not a typo) insights, et cetera, were these choice quotes from the aforementioned television programme:

Sir Humphrey:
If local authorities don't send us the statistics that we ask for, then government figures will be a nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
They'll be incomplete.
But government figures are a nonsense anyway.
I think Sir Humphrey wants to ensure they're a complete nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
It is so difficult for me you see, as I am wearing two hats.
Yes, isn't that rather awkward for you.
Sir Humphrey:
Not if one is in two minds.
Or has two faces.
Sir Humphrey:
A clarification is not to make oneself clear, it is to put oneself in the clear.
Sir Humphrey:
East Yemen, isn't that a democracy?
Sir Richard:
Its' full name is the Peoples' Democratic Republic of East Yemen.
Sir Humphrey:
Ah I see, so it's a communist dictatorship.
Personally I find it hard enough to believe that one of us was one of them, but if two of us were one of them ... two of them, all of us could be ... um could be ... um ...
All of them.

More great quotes from the show here, linguist breakdown of The Simpsons here...

Yeah check this out:

Episode: Mountain of Madness, Episode # 812 4F10
Deixis in personal pronouns:
Homer has brought his family along on a business team-building exercise in the woods, and Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are stuck in the National Park Service building while all the employees are off team-building. Bart is standing in front of a Smokey the Bear statue, who has an electronic voice and a little 'quiz' to administer. Bart and Smokey have the following exchange:

Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"Who is the only one who can stop forest fires?
(examines response panel, which has two buttons, marked "you" and "me". He presses "you").
Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"You pressed YOU, meaning me. This is incorrect. You should have pressed ME, meaning you.
For those not familiar with "Smokey the Bear", his admonishment, or catch phrase, is "Only YOU can stop forest fires!".

Brilliant. Good commentary on UI design as well right there. :)


I thought I was the only one...

Sir Humphrey: "With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe."
Jim Hacker: "I don't want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe."
Sir Humphrey: "It's a deterrent."
Jim Hacker: "It's a bluff. I probably wouldn't use it."
Sir Humphrey: "Yes, but they don't know that you probably wouldn't."
Jim Hacker: "They probably do."
Sir Humphrey: "Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn't. But they can't certainly know."
Jim Hacker: "They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn't."
Sir Humphrey: "Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that, although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would."