The Devil’s Dictionary

Last I heard Ambrose Bierce was still dead, so he can’t sue me for this second update to his “Devil’s Dictionary.” Here are additions for letters M through Z, beginning with Man: an inferior sort of woman.

marijuana: a useful drug, illegal because it is pleasurable

mathematics: a way for man to count his murders

Mexico: a country disliked by many North Americans, because the days are so much longer there; the average Mexican day is two or three times longer than a day in the United States

mouth: the body part through which most mistakes are made

music: a) appreciation of God; b) defiance, in the absence of God

Nazi: a conservative, pro-business, pro-defense political party that believed in traditional religious values, a strong executive, and wished to live in a post-racial society

novel: a) a piece of writing of some length with something wrong with it; b) the only ethical manner in which to perform experiments upon humans

oral sex: like the modern financial industry, and the U.S. Congress, this involves a lot of excitement and occasional screaming and moaning, but no real production

orange: a) a fruit; b) proof of the existence of god

past: an illusion

Ph.D.: one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing

Poe, Edgar: a poet who suffered through a sad life, whose poems gave thousands of young people their first glimpse of what poetry can be, for which he is execrated by critics, who cannot do that

poet: a) formerly, one who sang to his people; b) now, one who whines that (s)he is so alone

political corruption: water to a fish

political parties: organizations exempted from the laws on extortion

prostitution: a crime for which the woman pays

Quakers: a group forced to be peaceful because if they were not they would kill one another in their interminable meetings

rape: a crime committed almost exclusively by men, and for that reason difficult to prosecute

religion: an organization like a country club, and established for the same reasons, but which collects its dues in a different manner

Republican: the party of Abraham Lincoln, in the sense that Don Juan is the avatar of virginity, and the Treponema pallidum spirochete is the bacterium of love

salt: the urge to look at the sea

Satan: more honored in the observance

sex: a force that created human beings, animals, plants and microbes, to perpetuate pleasure on this poor suffering planet

sports: ritual warfare in which people are not killed except by accident or for profit

Stockholm syndrome: modern life

terrorist: short-sighted

tiger: the most beautiful animal that ever existed, for which reason men kill it

time: an illusion we live in

tobacco: a solace that accelerates death

trees: an agreement between water and stone

TV: a legal narcotic

Twain, Mark: America’s greatest philosopher, whose truths are so uncomfortable Americans prefer to regard them as humor

Unitarianism: a group dedicated to the impossible project of reconciling reason and religion

vagina: a place from which all humans emerge, and to which half of us seek to return

Vietnam war: a war the United States refuses to admit it lost, and so fights over again in other places, with similar results

Vonnegut, Kurt: a writer out of favor with the literati, because he used words to tell a story rather than to investigate his own navel

Wall Street: a street in lower Manhattan named for the wall built around its slave market; its slaves have been dispersed

war: the natural state of mankind

whale: a mammal that saw the way things were going on land and moved into a nicer neighborhood

World War (I & II): businesses that became rich by destroying the planet a little bit at a time

worm: a soft plow

X-ray: a) a contraption that shows men’s bones without the flesh; b) a time machine

yesterday: the time when the tragedy could have been prevented

zoo: institutions in which man may study superior species but fail to learn from them

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