Philosophy

By CRAIG J. CLARK


Interview set with lights out. Three figures are shillouetted against a white background. Theme music plays -- something typically cheesy for a television chat show. As the music ends, lights come up and we close in on the HOST, who is seated in the middle.

HOST - Hello, and welcome to "Philosophy," the show where we ask questions and take roundabout ways of answering them. And let's find out who out guest philosophers are today.

Cut to a middle-aged PROFESSOR and close in on his half-smiling face.

HOST - First, there's Professor Edward Longair, head of the philosophy department of the University of Louisiana, and author of the book, Who Cares?

Cut to MISS PONSHA and do the same thing. She is much younger and acts like she's on a game show.

HOST - And then there's Miss Jane Ponsha, well-known free-thinker and Cartesian dualist -- as seen on Oprah and Sally Jessy Raphael.

Cut back to HOST.

HOST - Welcome to the program, both of you. And now it's time for our first philosophical question of the day, as sent in by a viewer.

An envelope is handed to him from out of view. The HOST opens it and reads intently.

HOST - Ah, well this is just that old standby, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound?" Professor, would you like to field this one?
LONGAIR - Certainly. Basically, when one discusses sounds, one must also keep in mind what defines the word "hearing." Hearing, as it were, is when sound waves are detected by some sort of receptive device, such as an ear. Therefore, if there are no ears available to detect the soundwaves, no sound is made.

The HOST nods and is about to say something when LONGAIR continues.

LONGAIR - And, of course, we humans would not have any idea of what happened unless some Boy Scout troop stumbled upon the dead tree and made a bonfire out of it. In essence, this question is similar to the one which queries, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" If defies logic. The tree, however, does not defy the matches in some pyromaniac tenderfoot's hand.

Cut to HOST, who is beyond speech for some seconds.

HOST - Well, I can't add anything to that. Miss Ponsha?
MISS PONSHA - Nope, me neither.
HOST - All right, next letter?

He is handed one almost immediately.

HOST - Ah, well this one's pretty straighforward. "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Miss Ponsha, what do you think?

MISS PONSHA thinks deeply for a few seconds.

MISS PONSHA - Ummm, the chicken.
HOST (after a stunned pause) - What?
MISS PONSHA - The chicken. It came first.
HOST - Is that all you're going to say?
MISS PONSHA - That's all I need to say.
HOST - But aren't you going yo spout ridiculous philosophical terminology and take a long time to virtually say nothing?
MISS PONSHA - No.
HOST - I see. Well!

He is quickly handed another envelope.

HOST - And here is out last question for the night. "How many roads must a man walk down before he stops at 7-11 for a Super Big Gulp?"

The HOST notices that the PROFESSOR and MISS PONSHA are eager to tackle this.

HOST - Well, I think we'll forgo having out guest philosophers try to explain this, and we'll ask the man in the street instead.

The PROFESSOR and MISS PONSHA look incredibly disappointed as we cut to a series of taped interviews.

VOICE OVER - How many roads must a man walk down before he stops at 7-11 for a Super Big Gulp?
ONE - Er, three.
TWO - Seven.
THREE - I don't really like Big Gulps.
FOUR - Nineteen.
LITTLE KID - A million!
SIX - One.
7-11 EMPLOYEE (possibly in uniform) - Hey, I work at 7-11!
EIGHT - Umm, forty-two.

Cut back to HOST. The PROFESSOR and MISS PONSHA have already left the set.

HOST - Apparently the man in the street is full of it. Well, that appears to be all the time we have for "Philosophy" this week. Tune in next time when we will answer that eternal question, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Until then...

Lights go out and theme music starts. Fade to black.


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P.S. All materials on this page are copyright 1998 by Craig J. Clark, in case you didn't know.