A writer reflects on her love of satire, and of Douglas Adams’s ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’
‘There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.’
‘What? But, that is NOT a satire.’
We are having pre-Christmas dinner drinks and my older sister is glaring at me from the couch. Her glare has been known to melt galvanised rubber. Conversation stutters to a halt as all eyes turn to watch me burn. The glare is because I mentioned a recent commission to write an article about my favourite satire and have decided to pick The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. My sister has an informed view on this. Her view is that I am wrong. Under my sister’s glare, steam starts to rise from my once chilled glass of Prosecco. Her son, who is the political editor for a well-known magazine and is forced to trawl the corridors of power daily to mingle with the Westminster elite, sighs and reminds her about the Vogons.
My sister blinks, pauses. Sits back from her tiger’s crouch. We all relax somewhat and I blow on my now hot drink.
‘Well…’ she concedes. ‘I still say it isn’t satire. It’s parody.’
‘Vogons: They are one of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy. Not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders – signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighter.’ Read More and Comment …