Thursday, June 16, 2005

I want to be a consumer, sir

Poetry afternoon here. See if you can spot the logical fallacy in the following poem by Patrick Barrington, originally published in 'Punch' in 1934. Don't say I never give out clues.
"And what do you mean to be?"
The kind old bishop said
As he took the boy on his ample knee
And patted his curly head.
"We should all of us choose a calling
To help society's plan;
Then what do you mean to be, my boy,
When you grow to be a man?"

"I want to be a consumer,"
The bright-haired lad replied
As he gazed up into the Bishop's face
In innocence open-eyed.
"I've never had aims of a selfish sort,
For that, as I know is wrong,
I want to be a Consumer, Sir,
And help the world along.

"I want to be a Consumer
And live in a useful way;
For that is the thing that's needed most,
I've heard Economists say.
There are too many people working
And too many things are made.
I want to be a Consumer, Sir,
And help to further trade.

"I want to be a Consumer
And work both night and day,
For that is the thing that's needed most,
I've heard Economists say.
I won't just be a Producer
Like Bobby and James and John;
I want to be a Consumer, Sir,
And help the nation on."

“But what do you want to be?”
The Bishop asked again.
“For we all have to work, as must,
I think, be plain.
Are you thinking of studying medicine
Or taking a bar exam?”
“Why, no!” exclaimed the lad
As he helped himself to jam.

I want to be a Consumer
To do my duty well;
For that’s the thing that’s needed most,
I’ve heard Economists tell.”
And so the boy resolved,
As he lit a cigar, to say:
“I want to be a Consumer,Sir,
And I want to begin today.”

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