Dear Monty Python and W.C. Fields … I blame you for my poor grades

Dear Messrs. Cleese, Gilliam, Jones, Palin, (Chapman), and Mr. Fields,

Messrs. Python,

I protest wholeheartedly against your continued use of delightfully, delirious names and words in seemingly endless retreads and ripoffs that appear every Christmas. Please cease and desist immediately.

As a vulnerable youth, I feel under your spell while innocently sitting in front of the boob tube tuned to the local PBS station here in the colony. From the very first shot of a naked Mr. Jones at the piano, I was hooked. For years, you filled my dreary world with fantastic, absurd, and hilarious words. Outside my mind was dullness and the turmoil of an adoptee stuck in an eroding and exploding domestic skit. You filled head was filled with a cacophony of words, phrases and accents that plunged me ill-suited for the study of History at university.

To the dismay of many a professor, I continued to mispronounce the names and events of so many of their personal favorites, continued to pronounce the names of key Italian Renaissance figures with a pseudo-Cockney lilt. And, don’t let me get started on my celebrated feuds with the German history professor who insisted it was Mr. Hitler, not Mr. Hilter. Or, the Russian prof who resorted to locking me in a small, barren Moscow flat with only a wooden chair after I’d used the philosopher’s quiz skit to demonstrate how we could achieve peace in our lifetime by having world leader’s play a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Needless to say, I agreed to leave university with the unanimous blessing of my professors and a History degree with my name written in crayon, and am now scratching out a living writing screenplays at a desk in a small, barren flat seated on my beloved wooden chair.

Yours truly,

Brigadier General Fancy-pants, Esq.

Now for you Mr William Claude Dukenfield, a.k.a, W.C. Fields, the great juggler and later, in the grip of the studio system, The Great Man.

Though long dead, your legacy mashed headlong with the Pythons in the mid-1970s while I was frantically searching for sanctuary from my personal unrelenting domestic tension. My bedroom, my desk, and a tiny B&W TV became that sanctuary. In your days, there was radio. In my early years, we had a handful of visual diversions from the bleak reality of Race Riots in Watts and Detroit, the prelude to the present day and the End of Detroit in the gas wars, and the sobering of the collective consciousness from Vietnam. Thankfully for malcontents like myself, the local PBS channel bravely aired risky fare like the Python’s series and your films.

Watching the ‘I feel unusual kitchen’ scene from ‘Withnail & I’ again impressed upon me the fact that your legacy seemed to have followed the same path as your travels on the vaudeville circuit throughout North America and England.

That being said, I still take issue with your legacy … your continued use of delightfully, delirious names, phrases and words caused me to constantly respond to professor’s questions with a nasal drawl and and an unflattering facial gesture that most assuredly lost me marks on every exam I took. Thanks a lot my little chickadee!


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