MARCH 24, 2012
OUR HEROES: UNLIKELY PHILOSOPHERS, whining their way through the American South and their hometowns of Plymouth and Newcastle in England. W. and Lars have Monty Python and Kierkegaard locked in a death grip in their DNA. W. is continually surprised and disgusted by Lars: his slackness, his torpor, his inability to learn anything. Lars (Eeyore to W.’s Winnie illePooh) is right to wonder who is the orderly and who is the lunatic on their lunatic’s outings into the world. “One day they’ll decrypt me,” W. says to Lars in one of many rants. “One day, the Rosetta Stone of my stupidity will yield up its secrets. — ‘You see!’, W. will say. ‘I told you so!’, he’ll say, when they solve my riddle.”
Together, they form Dogma, their religion. They make presentations to ever-dwindling groups in both countries, each time more drunken than the last. Eventually disgusted with America — “The United States of Thought-Robbery,” W. calls it — they head home to spread the word. W. is strongly against art: “We ought to fine artists rather than subsidise them, he says. They ought to be subject to systematic purges. He’s never doubted we need some kind of Cultural Revolution.”Dogma is chock-full of this and other modest proposals. Just when my hilarity over the first book of their misadventures, Spurious, had faded to a low chuckle, Dogma comes along. Between the two books, there’s almost no point in breathing, much less coming to any strong conclusions about life, the universe, and everything.