Beethoven’s Fifth

I have been most remiss in sharing my monthly indulgence in Doug Savage’s delightful Savage Chickens.

You may contend that there is more to life than chickens, savage or otherwise. And you would be quite right. With all the recent furore over horses galloping into ready-made lasagna, I thought it best to keep my head down and not mention that I cannot ride a horse, but in compensation, I have been blessed with amazing home-made lasagna capabilities, last exercised in grand scale six years ago on the occasion of my partner’s 50th birthday. This time around we had take-away curry. Our pudding – a famous brand name on a stick covered with chocolate of near-orgasmic properties – was consumed first, which is our way of repeatedly disproving the theory that if you have too many sweet things beforehand, you will not be able to finish your lunch.

Having revealed all of the above in a brisk canter, you will not be surprised to learn that ours is a household which views bananas in a favourable light. We also eat them. In his The Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty writes as some length and in great analytic detail about why we find watching someone trip and fall funny. Given my habit of picking on a tiny detail from large, heavy books, I shall leave to you to find the actual passage to which I refer.

Having rearranged my neural connections long after the end of my childhood to accept a two-course meal which starts with pudding as normal behaviour, you will forgive me if I have wrongly remembered Monsieur Merleau-Ponty using the image of someone tripping on a step as his example of something considered universally funny. Obviously, the very idea of suggesting that someone slipping on a banana peel and falling flat on their fan was not only intrinsically but extrinsically beneath him.

Going for a ride.
Going for a ride.

Doug Savage, on the other hand, does what few have done: Not only has he outstripped Merleau-Ponty by illustrating the same principle using the noble banana, he has also successfully anthrophomorphised this same fruit by giving it the power of speech. He takes the humour (and this time, the joke is on us, folks) one step further by having us accept as entirely routine the highly improbable notion of a grand piano falling from the sky and accurately hitting its target too – in this case, our beloved, but not very perspicacious, savage chicken, who starts out the day singing.

Is this a shameless borrowing from an advertisement featuring George Clooney and a do-it-yourself espresso product?  I think not: Note the careful juxtaposition of the piano leg and chicken leg. Pure art.

OK, you can simply laugh at the cartoon, and like my post, if you like.


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