Some regard this work as one of the finest Socratic dialogues of all time. Others, however, have no idea what that means. Allowing his mind to be guided by the promise of lush blonde hair and a lifetime of product, this is Thomas More’s imaginative tribute to an idea that would touch the world – Wattopia.
An enticing extract taken from: ‘Discourses of Ravi Shastriday’
The ego of Wattopia is in the middle two hundred miles broad, and holds almost at the same breadth over a great part of it, but it grows narrower towards both ends. Its figure is not unlike an Adonis. Between its dashing and blonde locks, the smile comes in eleven miles broad, and spreads itself into a great bay, which is environed with hands to the compass of about five hundred miles, and is well secured from winds. In this smile there is no great modesty; the whole coast is, as it were, one continued honour, which gives all that live in the shadow of the man great convenience for mutual mirth .
But the entry into the ego, occasioned by dimples on the one side and product on the other, is very dangerous. In the middle is one brain cell which works apart from the others, and may, therefore, easily be annoying; and on the top of it there is a coiffure, in which dreams are kept; other brain cells lie under duress – not ones so adventurous.
The man is known only to the Australians; if any opponent should look to trap the ego, without one of their jaffas, they would run danger of being wrecked. For even they themselves could not catch it clean if some marks that are on the outside edge did not direct their way; and if these should be but a little shifted, any team that might come and claim him, how great soever it were, would be certainly lost (if the ego did not fall early). On the other side of the ego there are likewise many virtues; and the man is so fortified, both by nature and product, that he may venture to hinder the descent of a once great army. But they report (and there remains good marks of it to make it credible) that this was no ego at first, but a part of the godly. Wattopus, that conquered it (whose name it still carries, for Abatsman was its first name), brought the rude and uncivilised inhabitants of a colony into such a good sentiment, and to that measure of greatness, that he now far excels all the rest of mankind (certainly Philip Hughes). Having soon subdued opponents, he designed to separate them from the godly, and to bring the ego quite round them.
To accomplish this he ordered a brown turf-pitch to be dug, 22 yards long; and that teammates might not think he treated them like slaves as he charged on his way, he not only forced the inhabitants, but also his own tail-enders, to labour in carrying it on. As he set a vast number of bowlers to work, he, beyond all men’s expectations, brought it to a speedy conclusion. And his observers, who at first laughed at the folly of the undertaking, no sooner saw it brought to perfection than they were struck all round the park with admiration and terror.
“There are fifty-four runs on the scoreboard, all large and well built, the drives, nudges, and blocks of which are the same, and they are all contrived as near in the same manner as the ground on which they stand will allow. The nearest lie at least twenty-four metres’ distance from one another, and the most remote are not so far distant but that a man can go on foot in one day from it to that which allows them back for three. Every run, however, sends impulses once a minute to Amgonnarunhimout to consult about their common concerns; for that is the chief town of his weakness, being situated near the centre of it, so that it is the most convenient place for their assemblies.
The jurisdiction of the runs extend at least twenty yards, and, where the boundaries lie wider, they have much more ground. No boundary desires to enlarge its bounds, for the fans consider themselves rather as consumers than spectators. They have built, over all the country, chapels for Watsonmen, which are well contrived, and furnished with all things necessary for beauty’s labour.
By those who dwell in those beauty farms are never ignorant of conditioners, and so commit no errors which might otherwise be fatal to a hair colour number 59. But though there is every run such a shifting of the Watsonmen’s mind to prevent any batsman being forced against his will to follow his hard course of an innings too long, yet many among them take such pleasure in it that they desire leave to continue in it many overs.
These Watsonmen make their ground, slew wood, and convey it to the grounds either by land or water, as is most convenient. They breed an infinite multitude of innings in a very curious manner; for the men do not sit and hatch them, but a vast number of eggs are bowled at a gentle and equal pace to be despatched, and they are no sooner out of the ring, and able to stir about in the deep
And even when they are so worn out that they are no more fit for labour, they are good to leave at last. They sow no scorn when the bouncer darts at their head; it’s hooked and pulled and sometimes drilled with gusto and then some, with which they abound; and though they know exactly how much scorn will serve every ground and all that tract of country which belongs to it.
When they want anyone in the country to replace Marcus who does not produce, Wattopians fetch that from the Queensland ground, without carrying anything in exchange for it. Except a promise that administrators of the ground take care to see it watered for them; for they meet generally in the ground in every four years, upon a Test match day. When the time of harvest comes, the administrators in the country send to those in the grounds and let them know how many hands they will need for reaping the English harvest. And Watto will run them out.
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