Dead Famous by Ben Elton

By Ben Elton

One residence, ten contestants, 30 cameras and forty microphones. one other televised, real-life cleaning soap opera, condo Arrest. we all know the principles: overall strangers are compelled to dwell jointly whereas the remainder of the kingdom watches them do it. merely this time they're asking: who's the assassin?

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The answer is perhaps threefold, in part a denial with counter-charge, in part an admission, and in part an amendment. A flat denial, even in part, is the weakest of these. It is indeed true, as has been pointed out, that Socrates would make a bad member of a fire department, were he to answer a fire-call by beginning a dialogue upon whether the burning house is worth saving. Yet it is also fair to say, and needs no insistence, that practical men of undivided will often make a terrible mess of what are supposed to be practical affairs, and seem to go on making such messes either until other practical men, single-minded toward other ends, halt them, or until there is an influx of the critical spirit into some party to the situation.

Farther along, when she tells the duties of a king and the dangers of his position, she talks as gravely as any philosopher. We look for a better key. " This suggests that while there will be nonsense in the oration, there will be flashes of wisdom, much as we find in the parts of the fools in Shakespeare. There are such flashes, but the whole is not to be described in this manner. There are wholly grave sections of considerable length, suggesting Shakespeare's kings and counsellors rather than his fools.

This has been read by millions, and the reading of it, or the effect of it, has varied considerably. Let us suppose that one reader believes that good literature is full of wellphrased sentiments which may be of profit to life and conduct. He will take the speech much as we imagine Polonius hoped Laertes would take it. He believes it, in other words, partly because it sounds like good sense, partly because the spectacle of an aged father saying farewell to his son breaks down or prevents resistance to belief, partly because, knowing Shakespeare to be a great author, the reader infers that what he writes in the form of direct advice will be sound.

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