Essays and discussions


Imagine, if you will, the mythical land of Fnerd. Yes, that's right, Fnerd. What do you think of? And just because it's mythical, that doesn't mean that it's not real, so don't go around imagining that it does. Okay, now that you've got an image of Fnerd in your mind, let me tell you a story about this land.

When you imagined Fnerd, I'll bet that you envisioned it populated by happy people. Happy people who say hello as they pass each other in the street. Happy people who are maybe a bit mad. Well, you'd be right. Or rather, you were right. You were just imagining the Fnerd of two centuries ago. That was the golden age of Fnerd. People were happy, they did greet each other in the street and they were a bit mad. But that was before the accountants came. There were more and more immigrants to Fnerd from the Country That We Do Not Name, claiming to be refugees. Alas, the generosity and kindliness of the people of Fnerd meant that they never doubted this. For a hundred years, refugees streamed to Fnerd from the Country That We Do Not Name and then, as suddenly as it had began, the flood of refugees stopped. And these refugees settled in Fnerd and did what refugees do. They opened take-away restaurants. Slowly, over a period of two hundred years, more and more of the refugees became teachers, journalists and politicians. Unbeknownst to the people of Fnerd, the 'refugees' from the Country That We Do Not Name had been sent by their rulers to prepare the way for the Invasion.

How did they prepare the way? Well, they slowly warped the minds of the children. They seeped propaganda into schools, newspapers, and public houses. Always this subtle message, like a tumour, wormed its way into the public consciousness of the people of Fnerd over the course of the next hundred years. A hundred years of telling the people that happiness was unnatural; a hundred years of telling people never to talk to strangers; a hundred years of "progress". This progress seemed to consist of more and more of the young people of Fnerd becoming administrators, middlemen, estate agents (positions which had hitherto been unheard of in Fnerd) - and accountants. They became Men in Grey. Anybody who was different, who showed any spark of individuality was immediately taken for 'therapy' and invariably returned sincerely believing that they had been wrong and that it was right to be like everybody else. And now their job is complete. After seven generations of permeating the national consciousness, political treaties and trade agreements were signed with the Country That We Do Not Name, with the people in both countries demanding closer political union. And now, the final obstacle has been overcome. The parliament of Fnerd has just voted unanimously to change the name of their country. All hail New Acturia.

– February 2001

Back to topTop of page
Printable version of this article