Sunday, 17 February 2008


The English astrophysicist Sir Frederick Hoyle once calculated that if the present rate of demographic expansion continues, ‘within 5,000 years the total mass of humanity will exceed the mass of all planets, stars and galaxies visible with the 200-inch telescope on Mount Palomar,’ It was in character for Hoyle to be offended, first by universal distortions of wishful thinking, and then by the mathematics of an economic system which promises its own destruction.

He sent the Pope a letter.

It accused the economists rather than God of cruelty in deceiving the world that absolute growth in a finite system is absolutely unsustainable.

“No doubt,” Hoyle wrote, “you will immediately take all such contraceptive measures as the situation requires?”

“Look,” the Pope replied, “I’m infallible. I’m constitutionally incapable of making anything but the correct decisions.” (Which, incidentally, is the only witty comment I’ve ever heard attributed to the man).

So here’s the thing:

There are, annually, seventy million net arrivals on Earth. And the Pope saw no reason why this satisfactory state of affairs should not be made to continue. His own contribution had been to bring the methods of a midwife to the deal. A craft he practised with prolific zeal. Not only was it sane, apparently, to go forth and multiply ad infinitum but it would be detrimental to the Divine Imperative, he said, to do anything else. He then instructed Sir Freddy to meet him at Loch Fyne, home to the finest maritime cuisine, and e-mailed his specific requirements for an extensive lunch.

There, then, they requested the menu and a fine Chateau Latour 1987.

“These are near-genocidal tendencies!” Sir Freddy said.

The Pope declined to contest the issue. “The roast potatoes are not crispy,” he said, “they’re plainly soggy.”
But he accepted implicitly that this planet had been engaged in senseless slaughter ever since the dawn of creation - a Malthusian contraceptive, so to speak. The reasons were obvious, he added, and obviously perpetuated.
“But what about abolishing weapons of mass destruction?” The Pope waved his fish-knife magnanimously.

“Fiddlesticks,” Sir Freddy said. “In Rwanda, April 1994, an entire swath of humanity was delivered to the machete. Proof, if proof were needed, that the weapon is only a component of war. In Srebrenica, July 1995, up to 8000 men and boys were summarily rounded up for execution.”

“There was a remarkable atmosphere of fraternity and goodwill,” the Pope recalled. “The Dutch UN contingent stepped aside without a single word of protest."

“Dutch courage,” Sir Freddy said.

Since the Pope drinks a fairly good Chablis, they switched to LabourĂ© Roi, Premier Cru, which at £ 88.40, the Pope thought was very advantageously priced. He was a dear fellow, John Paul II - to say nothing of the 12% service charge - and immensely gifted. But then, of course, he never got stuck with the bill.

“Whether you like it or not,” Sir Freddy said, “it is virtually impossible for cravings so gluttonous to be satiated within the global confines of peace on earth and good will to all men.”

The Pope refused to stir in the matter. “Some truths we hold to be self-evident!” he said. “And among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“The power of wishful thinking is the most undemanding intellectual faculty known to man,” Sir Freddy replied.
Had Sir Freddy got the solution, the Pope permitted himself to wonder?
“Half the beauty of the thing is,” Prof. Hoyle said, “it‘s entirely up to you.”

The major d’ came over. “Two coffees,” the Pope said, “with sugar and double cream, if it’s not too much trouble.”

Unlike Tony Blair, who’s nearly always offered a free lunch, Sir Freddy picked up the tab. Asparagus risotto, fried squid and scampi, grilled red snapper, coquilles Saint-jacques, lobster salad, candied cherry tomatoes, that sort of thing. The Pope had the Sevruga caviar on buttered toast. You could say £ 85 for 50g was pushing it. But he ate it off his knife. The foie gras on a brioche, he said, was a notch below par. Freddy tasted it. No shit, John P., it was delicious. The Pope was particularly impressed when they brought a complimentary bowl of Turkish delight.

He gained 3lb in two hours.

So what should my last words be? Well, perhaps it’s just me, but what I am critical about is an open-ended doctrine that involves mass-manipulation, urban indoctrination, spiritual zoning and contraceptive prohibition on a universal scale. And its all down to one man! Personally I believe such types are entitled to be locked up, out of harms way, in a very secure residential institution at Novosibirskyeostrova (also known as New Siberian Islands). There are scheduled beach walks and yoga classes, including a weekly session with a shaman and an astrologer. Or, failing that, if anyone wishes to farm out a lucrative contract, send your money to Jesus. He might well be interested. An excess of evil sometimes works its own cure.



Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say I have been falling behind on all this . Do you really think that the Pope has 70 million children a a year? Why was old Freddy Hoyle worrying about things that might happen in 50000000 years? Was 1987 a good year for Chateau Latour? Would the new pope insist on sausage for lunch?

Selena Dreamy said...

Ahh Mutley, these are some very pertinent questions you are asking. I shall aspire to provide the answers in one of my next posts.

Sausages for the new pope? Definitely - plus liberal helpings of Sauerkraut!


Richard Madeley said...

I thought the Pope refuses to accept sausages when they're sheathed... Or is that just my tired imagination running wild again?

Anonymous said...

I once had dinner with a cardinal who talked to JP2 about Ian Paisley; the Pope told the cardinal, "We must love all God's creatures".

Didn't really follow the rest of your missive, but highly entertaining in a 'Wogan Letter' kind of way; you should be locked up..........

Selena Dreamy said...

Richard, apart from the fact that your wit is natural, and mine somewhat erm...contrived, I keep wondering which one of us two has the more salacious imagination...?

Sheesh...I'm blushing...


Selena Dreamy said...

Anonymous: Didn't really follow the rest of your missive,

Now, that genuinely surprises me. Though I concede that wherever I go, I’m being followed by a general sort of incomprehension. Personally I think, this is due to a general amnesia concerning problems which are most obvious.

But then, I may just be trying to flatter myself... D.

Richard Madeley said...

And that's the way to shock. It must come from a place where you least expect it. I find Roy Chubby Brown to be the most banal comedian around but Grouch Marx can still make me go pale.