By Gareth Edwards

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Gemma Arterton and the problem of Rat Copyright

In your questions this week several major philosophical issues have come up, and if I can resolve them below then I see no reason why we shouldn’t achieve a coherent explanation for everything in the universe in a slightly shorter infinite amount of time than the infinite amount of time I was expecting. Which can only be good. Here are this week’s answers.

Why is Gemma Arterton?
There is no straight-forward answer to this seemingly simple question. That’s because Gemma exists simultaneously as an actress and as a particle. For example, Gemma is readily observable on a cathode ray tube under certain conditions such as that you have an old telly and are watching Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and in this respect she is an actress. But if Gemma is fired at very high speed at a strip of metal then electrons and small angry squeaks will be given off, and Gemma will tend not to behave as an actress at all. This is known as actress-particle duality. One theory suggests that Gemma’s state is determined by her observers and that if nobody observes her she will cease to be an actress altogether.

Did Dickens own a cat, or was he a dog person?
This seems to me a false juxtapostion. One of the more surprising things about Dickens was that as well as being the third best writer in history he was very much a dog-person in that from the chest down Dickens was actually a large poodle. This canine lower part of the great novelist had his fur trimmed into the shape of a Victorian gentleman’s lower torso and legs and the deception went undetected except that he often fell over when urinating. But Dickens did also own a variety of cats on which he based many of his books, although anyone who has just tried to think of a list of amusing cat-related versions of Dickens titles will know it’s a far-from-open goal. Ooh, Tail of Two Kitties. That’ll have to do.

Do photos steal your soul?
The answer is of course yes. For example, if you were to take a photograph of a loved one right now, there would be no risk whatsoever to the loved one’s soul. However, if you were to repeat the process many times, photographing loved ones, neighbours from when you lived in Yeovil, some slightly historic buildings you saw in Holland, and especially some babies, and you were to keep those photos in a box, and then much later if your teenage grand-children were to come round and you were to take out the box and show them all of these photos one after the other for nearly three hours they would very likely lose the use of their soul, and if you didn’t even offer them a biscuit or anything, their souls might very easily be destroyed.

Can fish fist bump?
Yes, but they choose not to. Fish are not team players. Except whitebait.

Why do people lie?
I answered this very convincingly but then rats stole it and published it on the Rat Internet and asserted Rat Copyright, which is watertight.

That’s all I’m pretending there’s time for this week, but the universe is still largely baffling so do keep your questions coming in, or we’ll never get through it.


  1. Thank you for the explanation. You've made everything so clear! The Dickens-as-poodle information has completely changed my interpretation of "The Growelry" in Bleak House.

    My next conundrum concerns the BBC iPlayer. I understand why, as an American, I cannot access it. However, couldn’t the BBC create a worldwide pay access service? Netflix allows me to watch TV/movies after I log in, and I pay each month for that privilege. Couldn’t the BBC do something similar? It would create a source of income for them and allow people like me to watch shows such as That Mitchell And Webb Look when we otherwise could not. (Only the first series is on Netflix, so I’ve never seen anything other than that. I feel so deprived.)

    Oh, and if you could tie a Springer Spaniel in with the BBC, that would be great. Or any kind of spaniel, really.

  2. Except a King Charles Spaniel. Because of their worryingly large and watery eyes. The BBC is enough trouble as it is.

  3. Why is there beetroot?

    For what should I save my last bullet?

  4. Hmm, I'm not convinced that you didn't just copy and paste the Gemma Arterton information from her Wikipedia page.

    But anyway, I think the question on everyone's lips this week is: when the window cleaner described someone as stupid yesterday, what measure of this was he using?

    (I don't think he was talking about me, but for argument's sake, we can leave that to one side.)

  5. Ha, only just came across your blog (Via David Mitchell's Twitter in case you want to give him some sort of royalty)it's very good.

    You've mentioned infitiy a few times in your previous posts which made me think about the over-quoted theory that monkeys with typewriters would write Shakespeare. I can't help but feeling there would be a better use for a room full of monkeys and infinity. What would you do with this resource?

  6. Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

  7. Did Doctor Seuss have a medical qualification?

  8. Just exactly what the hell do I think I'm doing?

  9. The verification word I had to type in for my post a few seconds ago was "vallatio". Are you using a post-verifying system that combines geographical features and sex acts to create fake words?