Thursday, 4 August 2011
A Fate Worse Than Deaf
I can hardly cope with the level of excitement that currently engulfs the lovely kingdom of Northumbria. Every day the soothsayers seem to present us with some new idea, and the ensuing public reaction is one of intense interest and impassioned debate. Such is the response that even the seagulls deliver extra payloads.
Today has marked the launch of a new campaign, promoted by a notorious gossip and scallywag called Kyder Hawks (no relation to Al Kyder - the jovial Levantine sword jockey and religious fanatic); he's decided to raise up an angry mob of petitioners to demand that the Witangemot hold a debate concerning the restoration of the Deaf Penalty. And such is the groundswell of support that the entire endeavour is spiralling out of control, and descending into a chaotic brouhaha. Meanwhile, the Realm is being daily plunged into deeper debt and propelled towards the precipice of bankruptcy while the megalomaniac Holy Roman Emperor Jose Borracho (who is neither holy, Roman nor an emperor) stealthily seizes more of the handles of Northumbrian power, but this seems to slip by unobserved..
In ancient times, the Anglo-Saxon civilisation took hardness of hearing very seriously indeed, and responded to it with the savagest of penalties; many was the poor cloth-eared unfortunate who was confronted by the wrath of the Moots and the disgrace of the population. Particularly ill-served were those who survived into hoary-haired old age, with its concomitant diminution of various senses and physical powers. It was such a stigma to be considered hard of hearing, that all manner of ingenious devices and strategies were devised by the afflicted to avoid being detected, hauled up and summarily punished. A tell-tale sign was if an elderly man or woman watched another person's mouth intently while they were speaking. Significant numbers of them thus avoided detection.
Nowadays in these enlightened times, the plight of the deaf has been subject to a sea-change in Anglo-Saxon political attitudes. No longer is it considered to be a personal and moral disgrace or outrage to be lacking in the hearing department - and the penal code has been amended to reflect a more lenient and understanding outlook.
Nevertheless, the politicos have been presented with the issue from time to time by myriads of reactionary followers of the rabid and hysterical rantings of soothsayer Dellimell; they've been resentful of the fact that their ill-feeling towards deafness has been steadfastly ignored by the Powers That Be. In typically sympathetic fashion, the political factions have dismissed the issue as if it were unworthy of a moment's thought. Until now, that is..
I suspect that the issue will be allowed to lose steam in the Witangemot, and will eventually sputter out like a bonfire in the driving rain. In the unlikely event that the Deaf Penalty is restored, it'll solely be applied to those Old Dears who've been apprehended for permitting their dogs to pass brown social comments on the streets..