Sunday, 3 November 2013

Immortal Immanuel

To my shocking horror, dear reader, I was confronted, shortly after the publication of last week’s blogpost ‘Sex upside down under’ (see below), with a pair of sullen, insolent youngsters from the near neighbourhood (I will not mention names but those of you who are curious can check their identity here…) who – in between yawns, rattling on iPhone keyboards and checking their insidious Halloween make-up – enquired in an utterly bored tone of voice: ‘Say, Alfred… Whose this Cant fallow you mentioned knocking down your attick door for the polies??’ (The grammar and orthography are THEIRS, dear reader! And so is their summary of the second paragraph of my splendid blogpost!)

‘Oh for crying out loud!’ I cried out loud. ‘Don’t they teach you ANYTHING no more in in those modern schools except how to mentally masturbate your mediocrity by mobile phone…???!!!

‘We cant all be geniouses like U, Ddushka,’ spoke the female half of the anonymous pair. ‘So Y don’t U just Xplain & get IT over with?’ After which she yawned once more and nearly dropped off to sleep over her digital homework.

It was then that I grasped, dear reader, that Education Of The Masses has come a long long way… A long long down-ward way towards the bottom of the murky abyss… And that any author of taste, sophistication and eruditeness better explain a thing or two if ever he wishes to be understood by the average blogvisitor…

So today I will quote  - for your instruction and amusement – the pertinent paragraphs on Herr Immanuel Kant from my famous ‘Flashguide to World Literature’ (the whole of which may be found in part 1 of volume xiii of The Collected Works of Alfred B. Mittington, pp. 103-167).  

 Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant was a complete oddball, and – as the phrase goes – a prolific writer. And that is putting it mildly. In fact, Immanuel Kant was such a prolific writer that nobody, except for his mother, ever read the complete works of Immanuel Kant. It is humanly impossible to read the complete works of Immanuel Kant, all 38,453 close-set pages of it (not including the voluminous supplements, addenda and commentaries added to the later editions).

Fortunately for science, Mitzie Kant (yes, you guessed it: his darling mum) kept a meticulous notebook about her reading efforts, since she earnestly tried to keep track of what little Manny was doing. It is this notebook – known among insiders as “Mutti´s Lektur Notizen (subtitled: Nicht ‘reinkucken, Manny!!)”, of which strictly reserved copies are being kept in the strongboxes of the more prominent Faculties of Philosophy around the globe – which ever since its discovery in the library of the Bohemian antiquarian Václav Hanka, has served as the basis for all subsequent Kant-studies. As a matter of fact, there is a whole – secret – branch of philology specialized in Mitzie Kant´s handwriting and semantics.

As said: Kant was a funny little bugger. He was born and died in Königsberg (these wayward days called Kaliningrad, unless the Ruskies have the changed that again in the meanwhile) and never left the city but once, when called to Berlin. To get there he took a stagecoach and got so violently sea-sick that after only a few miles he forced the driver to turn back, threatening him with a complete explanation of his latest views on the Categorical Imperative if the man continued another minute.

Kant was a man of strict habits. Every afternoon, he took a constitutional through the town centre, always by the exact same route, at the exact same time, taking the exact same number of steps. So much at the exact same time, as a matter of fact, that the inhabitants of Konigsberg, instead of using the church tower clocks, set their portable watches to the far more reliable calibration of Immanuel Kant strolling by.

Another of his Kantics concerned matrimony. Having decided that a Man, once he has made his way in the world, by duty bound ought to marry, Kant looked around for a suitable bride and soon found an eligible girl. However, before declaring himself and taking the big step, he decided to calculate the consequences of marriage to his household purse. He set to work on that task with his usual thoroughness. By the time he was finished, his bride-to-be had been happily married to another man and borne her husband three children.

In his philosophical system, which does not concern us here, Kant maintained, among many, many, MANY other things, that if your best friend comes panting into your apartment and tells you he is wanted by the police and could he please take refuge in your bedroom, the sacrosanct duties of friendship prescribe that you should hide him. But if, perchance, the police then comes knocking on your door and asks ‘Is your friend here?’ you are supposed to answer: ‘Yes sir, he is. You will find him in the bedroom’. For what would become of this world, Kant dares us, if everybody started lying to the police?? 

With philosophers like that, who needs Vidkun Quisling?

The sensible thing to say about Immanuel Kant at a cocktail party is therefore: ‘Purely in a Category of his own!’


  1. This was hilarious Mr. Mittington, truly outstanding. I even had to post a link on Twitter.

    I happened to study Mr. Kant in depth in my first or second year at University... can't quite remember these things - old age and all that... and I'm happy to report that you are quite accurate in your summation :)

  2. Thank you, Ms Azra. It is always a pleasure and a privilege to receive a compliment from a reader - and fellow writer - of taste and sophistication. Yours, ABM.