Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

Octopus Paul

Posted on | July 13, 2010 | No Comments

Octopus Paul is this merry aquatic fellow who happily forecast, with disconcerting accuracy, the results of World Cup games up to and including the final Spanish victory this Sunday. Paul of course is the worthy successor of a long line of animal fortune tellers, a phenomenon which always fired the imagination of us poor humans, not gifted with this kind of foresight.

Already ancient Greek and Romans attempted, many centuries ago, to predict the course of the future through the careful examination of dead birds’ innards. The augury would slowly reveal his predictions – this may have something to do with the saying, « bird of ill omen », which says much about these auguries’ effectiveness. Nonetheless, a strong tradition of animal divination remains alive and well. To wit, the startling media frenzy which surrounds the famous Groundhog day and its superstar, Punxsutawney Phil (and of course, the movie starring Bill Murray)!

Maybe this tradition should be encouraged a bit more in Quebec and Canada. For example, we could try to predict the score of Stanley Cup playoff games using prescient beavers. In the Bell Centre, it wouldn’t be out of place to do so…. Reading Brigitte Bardot or Stella McCartney’s future in the innards of Atlantic seals could be envisioned. Or we could foretell the result of federal elections through the migratory patterns of caribous. Not to mention grizzly and polar bears…

Of course, we can also laugh it all off in front of a platter of deep-fried calamari!


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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

    Tous droits réservés, Patrick Meunier, 2010

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