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Thanks for all the fish

The news from the horrible (and immensely stupid: who the fuck would allow a chemical plant to be built literally next door to a school) West fire in Texas today, with its “70 injured, no I mean 70 dead, no I mean 5 dead” just reminded me of this brilliant commentary on newspaper reports of tragedies.

(from Dirk Gently; if you’ve not seen the BBC adaptation, do. And if you’ve not read the books, stop reading now and don’t come back til you have):

They started at forty-seven dead, eighty-nine seriously injured, went up to sixty-three dead, a hundred and thirty injured, and rose as high as one hundred and seventeen dead before the figures started to be revised downwards once more. The final figures revealed that once all the people who could be accounted for had been accounted for, in fact no one had been killed at all.

A related thought in my brain, which was very much shaped by the 1980s British rationalist writer community, in the light of Mr Dawkins being a dick on Twitter as usual. We’d like to imagine that if Douglas were alive today, he’d be in the camp of the Iains and Terrys, but there’s at least a possibility he would have ended up with the Martins and the Richards.

Fuck.

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  1. April 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm | #1

    Adams was already firmly in the Dawkins camp. They were close friends and in close agreement about religion and the derision with which it should be greeted.

    If you think of his idea about what qualified someone to be ruler of the universe – a complete refusal to interfere in other people's lives – it's hard to see how he'd have ever been sympathetic to Banks who, whatever you think of his writing, is a totalitarian bigot in his politics.

    I doubt Pratchett would want to be associated with Banks either.

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