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Portrait of the Artist as a Lone Tree


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The trial of ethnocentricity

Part 4 - Mr Humble Pie

“Mr Pie,” ventured Cecil, “pray tell me your view;
did you vote for the Pig? Did the Pig speak for you?”
“Surely not,” said young Pie. “I cast votes all my life
for the parties of Tolerance, Butcher and Strife.”

“Then tell me,” asked Herbert. “Did any of those
make an offer to sell you the Emperor’s clothes?”
“Yes, they did,” agreed Pie. “And not one of them said
that they’d do what I wanted; they’d tell me, instead.

Every one of them said the same things about Grief,
and how killing the Pig had been such a relief;
they had all the solutions, they said, and no more
could be tried except Hatred, and Horror, and War.”

“Yet we’ve War without trying,” said Herbert. “Then how
would you say we’d arrived at the War we have now?”
“Well, your honour, I wanted to keep away those
who came carrying Hatred, and blamed us for Woes.”

“Inadmissible!” Cecil declared. “That’s the Pig!
And your Ignorance says that you’ve swallowed it big!”
“But, your honour,” said Herbert, “young Pie has been called
in defence. His account must be heard; I’m appalled!

Tell me, Pie, what you’ve eaten to make you so strong?”
Then Pie bristled, “I’ve said it was daft all along;
We’ve been eating fat rashers, all salted with scorn,
though the Pig has been dead since before we were born!”

“So you say,” said Sir H, “you eat Pig all the day,
and the state has insisted on making you say
that all racists are white, while you dance them a jig?”
“It was white!” said young Berridge. Said Herbert, “A Pig!

For it’s not that the Pig had been white that’s so bad,
but it’s Swinish opinions that cannot be had.
So to say that a man is a Pig since he’s white,
is a blasted hypocrisy. Isn’t that right?”

“Good Lord, you’ve explained it!” said Pie in delight.
“I was sure that the story we’re told wasn’t right.
There are white Pigs and black Pigs and brown Pigs as well!
No, it isn’t the colour – the problem’s the smell!”

“But your lordship!” howled Berridge. “If this is allowed,
then the Pig will be worshipped by all of the crowd!”
“Oh, shut up!” snapped Sir Herbert, “for everyone loathes
being made to believe in the Emperor’s clothes!”

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