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Stewart Lee vs. Jane Austen; Dick advances

Yesterday‘s deciding arguments came from Horselover himself.

As quoted by Dalton:

Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost . . . perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that precious little fragment as well.


We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and is then projected outwards once more, now in an altered form. We are not aware that we are doing this, that in fact this is all we are doing.

Wow—Turing-esque (but I can’t picture Dick running around the house).

And, as quoted by X:

“But—let me tell you my cat joke. It’s very short and simple. A hostess is giving a dinner party and she’s got a lovely five-pound T-bone steak sitting on the sideboard in the kitchen waiting to be cooked while she chats with the guests in the living room—has a few drinks and whatnot. But then she excuses herself to go into the kitchen to cook the steak—and it’s gone. And there’s the family cat, in the corner, sedately washing it’s face.”

“The cat got the steak,” Barney said.

“Did it? The guests are called in; they argue about it. The steak is gone, all five pounds of it; there sits the cat, looking well-fed and cheerful. “Weigh the cat,” someone says. They’ve had a few drinks; it looks like a good idea. So they go into the bathroom and weigh the cat on the scales. It reads exactly five pounds. They all perceive this reading and a guest says, “okay, that’s it. There’s the steak.” They’re satisfied that they know what happened, now; they’ve got empirical proof. Then a qualm comes to one of them and he says, puzzled, “But where’s the cat?”

Fat wins the thread.

Today’s contest matches up two surprisingly strong unseeded speaker candidates. Jane Austen cuts to the bone, but with discretion; Stewart Lee lets it all hang out. So how do we like our social observations: subtle, or like a refrigerator to the side of the head?

P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here are the rules.


  1. A C says:

    Highly idiosyncratic, but I’d love to see what Jane Austen (Austen’s early Regency dress style: thought of late Regency dresses (, which were basically the exact opposite sensibility. It’s an astonishingly quick reversal, from narrow and prim to a sort of walking wedding cake in twenty years. I imagine she’d have had some interesting thoughts, but she died too early to see it.

  2. Ethan Bolker says:

    I so much want to hear Jane that I violated my self imposed principles (for this competition) and looked on line for a good quote. How about

    My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.


    That’s what I’d call a good seminar. Not what we’d get from Lee. I can only hope we’d satisfy Austen.

  3. ahuri says:

    I would go for Jane: I’m sure, that with her own difficulty to get her work out in print today (, she would be full of good advices for us and she’d have interesting ideas on how to reform our publishing system.

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