When is an aphorism not an aphorism? Well, judging by Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’s column in the Independent, it’s when it’s a slightly pointless observation, strung out in such a way as to provide the building blocks of an equally senseless column. This epigrammatic approach, consisting of a cobbled-together sequences of barely cogent thoughts, is reminiscent of another writer whose name it would be unwise recall.
To the troubling issues of our day Pullicino Orlando proposes the constructive approach of inviting John Bundy to reprise the spirit of memorable Pajjiz tal-Mickey Mouse. This is not the forum to explore and reflect on the utter stupidity of that song and its creator, but the fact that Pullicino Orlando chooses to begin the segment of the article with:
Hunger, poverty, discrimination, disease, global warming, nuclear proliferation… the list of issues which humanity should be doing its utmost to tackle is impressive.
… and finish with…
Remember that famous John Bundy song, Pajjiz tal-Mickey Mouse? It seems Dinja tal-Mickey Mouse would be a fitting sequel.… is telling in itself.
Yet he invites us to have a laugh at the stupid Americans; again, and this is really stretching the goodwill of even the most generously inclined readers, by suggesting that John Bundy provide a sequel to his ghastly song. Of all the things he could cite, of all the great satire of history, from Twain and Jonathan Swift to George Orwell and Mariella’s Diary, that he could have called upon, he invokes the cretinous spasm of a man whose cultural contribution to the world currently consists of driving cars into the studio during L-Istrina.
After a twee Biblical-style parable about the euro, a subject that promises to overshadow the meaning of life as a favoured topic of conversation, Pullicino Orlando wilily merges two current issues into this Mike Giggler observation:
"Since we are now officially the happiest country in the world I agree with those who suggest we put a happy face on our euro coins."Just to recap, the article started out with poverty and disease, but with sleight of hand of such sagacious deftness that comes straight out G.K.Chesterton he rounds off his mongrel of senselessness with a cutesy anecdote that rightly belongs in a “The Funny Things They Say” column. Proper newspapers tend to pay their columnists, and Pullicino Orlando might indeed have been eligible for a £50 cheque had he sent in his story to a down-market magazine for bored housewives. As it is, if the editor of the Independent has any sense, he will have rewarded Pullicino Orlando for this story with a pat on the head and a boiled sweet.
"I’d like to round this article off by sharing an amusing incident with you. My youngest daughter, Marija, is seven and my partner’s daughter, Celine, is nine.
They often engage in heated debates about a wide variety of topics. They were watching Hocus Pocus this week, yet again.
There is a reference to virgins at one point.
'What’s a virgin?' I heard Celine asking Marija while I was preparing supper in the next room. 'It’s someone who only eats vegetables,' was Marija’s prompt reply.
I nearly knocked over the salad!"