Fake Book Review: Plato and a Platypus

This is a first for me.  I’m reviewing a book I haven’t read yet.  Thanks to Fakesister for the tip.  The book is Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar:  Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes.  Each joke illustrates a particular philosophical idea.  Fakesister could not remember what the following joke illustrated, but no matter.

A snail is mugged by two turtles.  Afterwards, the police ask the snail to describe what happened.  “I don’t know”, said the snail, “It all happened so fast!”

Through the miracle of the Internet, I caught the authors telling another joke on YouTube.  This joke illustrates a particular type of logical fallacy, that is, assuming that because one event precedes another  it was the cause.  Example:  85% of heroin users used marijuana first.  Yes, says one of the authors, but 100% of heroin users first used mother’s milk.  And now for the joke.

An older man with a very young wife goes to his rabbi and says, “No matter what I do, I can’t seem to satisfy my wife”. 

“I see that problem often”, said the rabbi.  “What you do is, you get a young man to come in and wave a towel over you while you make love to your wife.”

So the old guy does it, but it doesn’t work.  He goes back to the rabbi.  “Yes,” said the rabbi, “I see that often as well.  Here’s what you do.  You go back and put the young guy in bed with your wife, and you wave the towel.”

It works.  As the wife is moaning in ecstasy, the old guy says, “Schmuck!  Now that’s how you wave a towel!”

The writers have a second book as well, Aristotle and an Aardvark Go To Washington:  Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes.  A review I read gives the following example:  Donald Rumsfeld said there were no good bombing targets in Afghanistan, therefore we should consider bombing in Iraq instead.  Equivalent to this:  a guy comes upon his friend Joe, down on his hands and knees under a streetlight.  He says, “What are you looking for, Joe?”  Joe says, “My car keys.”  The friend says, “Is this where you dropped them?”  “No”, says Joe, “I dropped them in the bushes over there, but the light is better here.”

This illustrates what the authors call ignoratio elenchi, “ignorance of the issue”.  I wonder if they made that up?  Even if they did, it’s still funny. 

Speaking of fake book reviews, the blogger on my blogroll DavisW (you can click the link) frequently does episodes of Fake News.  (Wait!  This could be copyright infringement!  I should have sole domain over Fake stuff!)  His latest post is about news that sounds fake but isn’t.  Don’t miss the story about the tanning bed catching on fire.


3 responses to “Fake Book Review: Plato and a Platypus

  1. > A snail is mugged by two turtles

    My guess is some form of moral relativity.

    I await more reviews of books you’ve not read!

  2. I plan to actually read both of these, then I can do a “real” book review!

  3. “As the wife is moaning in ecstasy, the old guy says, “Schmuck! Now that’s how you wave a towel!”


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