Making the Future Female

PARENTS – YOU CAN’T LIVE WITH ‘EM, YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM


This morning, I would like to quote from perhaps the best satire written in the English language – namely Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. Most people are aware of only some parts of the first part of the first voyage in which Gulliver finds himself in Lilliput.  Here the inhabitants grow to no more than 6 inches high and the hero of the novel is considered to be a giant. However, there are many other voyages covered in the book but these are normally left out of popular versions of the story because they are considered unfit for children due to their often crude subject matter and highly satirical nature.

As a student of literature I can recommend this as one of the top novels ever written.

My point here is to tell you about a short passage in the book where Swift, in an allusion to the reference in the 10 Biblical Commandments to ‘honour thy father and mother’, says the following:
“The Lilliputians … will never allow that a child is under any obligation to his father for begetting him, or to her mother for bringing her into the world; which, considering the miseries of human life, was neither a benefit in itself, nor intended so by his parents, whose thoughts in their love-encounters were otherwise employed. Upon these and the like reasonings, their opinion is that parents are the last of all others to be trusted with the education of their own children…”

After Gulliver escapes from Lilliput he arrives at the Kingdom of Brobdingnab where he is only 6 inches tall and the native inhabitants are giants. After many escapades he becomes friendly with the King and many brilliant discussions take place which allows the author to poke fun at our society and our warlike nature. The King of Brobdingnab is appalled to hear of the lies and machinations of our political classes, our evil military inventions and downright cruelty to one another and comments:

In subsequent voyages Gulliver meets a wide range of weird and wonderful people and in the final chapter makes the acquaintance of a race of rational horses who live side by side with a race of horrible, filthy animals called Yahoos. Of course, we are the Yahoos and the internet company of the same name is named after this literary invention.

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5 responses

  1. Get your hands on Forbes’ ‘Natural History of Families’…

    September 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

    • Okay thanks x

      September 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    • Hi mate – just looked at A Natural History of Families and as you say it is fascinating and we’ll order now from Amazon – thanks, although I’m not sure my mum and sisters will be so grateful…

      September 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      • It’s genius. It gives us a whole new perspective on how families work and makes us realize we’re much more animal than we’d like to think…

        September 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      • I already know my family are 🙂
        And as for my partners – they’re more like plant life 🙂

        September 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm

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