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I've seen the future, and it's feathered.

26 June 2000
Victor knows more than you think. Heed its words.

"And the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts will swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.""
Exodus 10:12

Locusts, the biblical napalm. My early education featured, in addition to the perhaps undeserved prominence of grandfather clocks and the wondrous mechanics of cold- blooded animals, locusts as the great Old Testament scourge of corrupt and stinking mankind. We didn't listen to the Lord, so we got a plague of alated animals as an afterthought to hail the size of beach balls. I'm not a great fan of whirring, leaping insects myself. But I wonder if the dread which the mention of locusts triggers is somewhat misdirected.

Rather, I think we should be turning our collective suspicious gaze on a farmyard friend and a staple of mine, Matt's and Jamie's weekly intake - the hen. Resist the mistaken temptation to equate the hen with the cockerel; they are two very distinct beasts. Only one of them made it onto the Flat 8 Page of Love. Forget all the poultry information you have gathered thus far: relearning your hen facts will prepare you for the possibility of your downfall.

This vicious and staggeringly mobile fowl is capable, in alliance with nineteen others of its kind, of bringing down a fully-grown and perfectly fit, though unsuspecting, human being. In matches staged to evaluate the respective fighting capabilities of the hen and the penguin it was noted that the former triumphed, despite the superior musculature of its opponent, because of its ability to kick, scratch and peck at one and the same time.

As far as most humans are concerned, our egg-laying subordinate is a nervous and timid thing, whose instinct is flight, not fight, and is only of interest in so far as it is able to run around "like a headless chicken" once decapitated. Both these assumptions are key issues in the resentment which will cause hens to turn on their masters. Not only do we despise them as inconsequential; we turn hen death into a laughing matter, the ultimate show of disrespect. The mistreated masses will rise up, and we will be unprepared and unprotected.

So why hasn't this happened already? Hens are startlingly thick. They are also team players. It will therefore take only one intelligent hen (itself an increasing possibility due to miraculous advances in the field of genetic modification) to turn the world upside clown. They already follow each other around for no ostensible reason and with no obvious goal. Imagine what will happen when a charismatic superior points in the direction of universal domination. What they need is a locust's organisational skill:

"Locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks;"
Proverbs 30:27

The locust knows army discipline. If these digit-sized first cousins of Disney's lethal Jiminy Cricket can bring us plague, despair and death, imagine the havoc the more robust, more powerful hen could wreak. While the locusts themselves may not be providing the manpower, right now one of their ancient Near Eastern number may be imparting their tactical knowledge to a hen with delusions of a sergeant-major's grandeur. Farmers, it's time to start being more vigilant in your own yard. If the hens appear one day to be strutting in formation, cull them all. You could be our only hope.

There's strength in numbers: this both locusts and hens enjoy. The crucial difference between the two is that, whereas we've been trying desperately to exterminate the former with various strains of death-dealing chemicals, we've been breeding the latter, engaging in hen proliferation. We think that they're serving us. But in decreasing the locust population and increasing the poultry base we have rendered the hen more of a threat than the biblical plague (I'd really like to know the respective totals of locust and hen populations worldwide - if anyone out there has the figures please email me).

So what is my conclusion? We need to re-evaluate the threat posed by the animal kingdom. Those "damned dirty apes" caught out Charlton Heston and Orwell entertained the possibility of a farmyard revolution. Notice that the pigs, not the hens, led that one. Where were they, then? Biding their time, letting the pigs make all the mistakes.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
27 October 2003. Victor writes: Our Tune
6 October 2003. Victor writes: Sucking face (in a public place)
15 September 2003. Victor writes: You got any ID?
25 August 2003. Victor writes: Blood on the Boulevard
4 August 2003. Victor writes: In (paren)theses
10 July 2003. Victor writes: Island Fling
19 June 2003. Victor writes: Back (back) and forth (and forth)
2 June 2003. Victor writes: 300 clowns, 13 eight-year olds
12 May 2003. Victor writes: The swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune
21 April 2003. Victor writes: ...just sitting there quietly contemplating suicide
31 March 2003. Victor writes: Victoria
6 March 2003. Victor writes: Relevant experience
17 February 2003. Victor writes: You will eat chips and go nowhere
27 January 2003. Victor writes: A bushy fish for fishy Mr Bush (after Juvenal)
6 January 2003. Victor writes: The Accidental Voyeur
16 December 2002. Victor writes: Gripper goes bang
25 November 2002. Victor writes: Bediquette
4 November 2002. Victor writes: Where have all the spastics gone?
14 October 2002. Victor writes: An Immodest Proposal
23 September 2002. Victor writes: Fastscan masterplan
2 September 2002. Victor writes: Dry Humping Social Club
12 August 2002. Victor writes: Beat the Mongol
22 July 2002. Victor writes: What life is not
1 July 2002. Victor writes: Stupor heroes
6 June 2002. Victor writes: Dry
13 May 2002. Victor writes: Muppet Suite
18 April 2002. Victor writes: gingermingeninja
25 March 2002. Victor writes: Sodomize with Pukka Pies
28 February 2002. Victor writes: Dave's problem
4 February 2002. Victor writes: King of the Aisles
10 January 2002. Victor writes: Here come the decorator gimps.
17 December 2001. Victor writes: Make war, not supper.
22 November 2001. Victor writes: Cough
29 October 2001. Victor writes:
4 October 2001. Victor writes: Green Gauges
10 September 2001. Victor writes: Blind weed
16 August 2001. Victor writes: Snout!
23 July 2001. Victor writes: You're not going to put this in a clown are you?
28 June 2001. Victor writes: What is a droll?
4 June 2001. Victor writes: Burt Pakamak
10 May 2001. Victor writes: Board to Death
12 April 2001. Victor writes: Tricolon with anaphora?
22 March 2001. Victor writes: Point of View
26 February 2001. Victor writes: Goth's Dinner
1 Feburary 2001. Victor writes: Les Miserables
4 January 2001. Victor writes: Flat-packed furniture
14 December 2000. Victor writes: Deliverance
20 November 2000. Victor writes: Bottomry: Exorcising Ghosts
26 October 2000. Victor writes: Body Art
2 October 2000. Victor writes: Disney must die
7 September 2000. Victor writes: Ice-cream in Offworld
14 August 2000. Victor writes: I like sweets that taste of medicine
26 June 2000. Victor writes: I've seen the future, and it's feathered

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