Saturday, November 03, 2012

And Nice Red Uniforms


Long ago, a journalist profiling the Monty Python troupe contended that whether their films were set in Medieval England or ancient Israel, the real target of their humor was always middle class English people.  A valuable insight, maybe one that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but it got me thinking about their comedy in a new way.

After many years of teaching writing and doing some writing myself, I’ve concluded that the famous Spanish Inquisition sketch is really about the frustrations of writing.  Anyone who has ever tried to arrange an unruly heap of information into a fluid inventory can identify with Michael Palin’s Cardinal Ximinez’s faltering effort to express the myriad weapons of the Spanish Inquisition.