Friday, 3 January 2014

Time for the best witches

Had a great e-mail a couple of days ago, from a friend who had a generous, warm-hearted and much-appreciated New Year message for us. 

But the subject line was ‘Best witches for 2014’.

Now this is obviously just another case of the wonderful, mysterious workings of predictive text or auto-correction.

It created a problem for the woman who texted her boyfriend, ‘Screw the gym! I'm getting pregnant tonight!' He replied that they ought to discuss the matter first. She had to explain that her actual intention was to get some Pringles for the evening.

Pringles: may make you fat if taken instead of the gym,
but they don't usually lead to childbirth
Equally, the text message ‘I’m going to stay home and eat a slave’ didn’t refer to a return to one of the darkest periods of our history, abducting Africans from their homes to be transported in bondage to the Americas, and compounding the horror with cannibalism, but merely to a desire to stay home and have a salad.

Nor was it best to reply to text question ‘Do I look like a cow?’ with the answer ‘Moo’, especially if what was meant was ‘Noooooo’.

Still, it struck me that some good witches wouldn’t go at all amiss in 2014. After all, we’ve had plenty of bad ones in the past. Last year, Maggie Thatcher passed away and a humorous if slightly malicious group of her opponents set out to organise sufficient downloads of the song ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ from The Wizard of Oz, to make it to number one in the charts. And came damn close...

Not all the bad witches have been female. One thinks of Tony Blair, looking us all in they eye and telling us he was a fundamentally straight sort of guy, and then contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on the basis of false (if not falsified) intelligence. Or of Rupert Murdoch, casting his spells and weaving his webs of deceit, through control of more and more of the communications media.

So some of the best witches, or even just some better ones, would be most welcome in 2014. Perhaps Terry Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg would be a good move. They’re a bit infuriating, wandering around sticking their noses into anything they choose without asking whether it’s even their business, but they’re always well-intentioned and the results are usually pretty good.

Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg
Not always welcome but they generally do some
Our governments are just as infuriating when it comes to interfering in things where they’re not needed – such as gay relationships or abortion rights – and their intentions wouldn’t usually stand much scrutiny, while the results are generally mediocre to lousy.

Best witches for 2014? Yes, I’d be in favour. So let me pass on my friend’s best wishes, and hope you all enjoy the very best of witches in the the coming year.

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