Some Sunday fun!
Will Cuppy is best known as a humorist. That is true, though it tells us little about Cuppy’s unique style of humor. What was that? He had a simple way of reducing human vanity to the absurd. For example
We all make mistakes, but intelligence enables us to do it on purpose.
Cuppy’s usual work was writing a column where he reviewed mystery books. Behind the scenes, however, he worked for 16 years on his book, “The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody”.
I love this book. It combines history and humor in a way that no one else has matched. Here is a snippet about Louis XIV
Louis XIV was decidedly the Louis. e is hard to write about because he lived so long and was always up to something. Among his hobbies were women, invading thee Low Countries, annexing Alsace and Lorraine, surrendering Alsace and Lorraine, and revoking the edict of Nantes. Everybody wanted Alsace and Lorraine because they were full of Strassbourg geese.
Hmmm … full of Strassbourg geese? It goes on
Throughout his reign, Louis XIV worked eight hours a day. Other kings let their ministers make their mistakes for them, but Louis insisted on making the important mistakes personally. He was the original quick-decision man. He did it almost automatically, but there were so many details to ball up that he had to get experts to help him. Jean-Batiste Colbert, an authority on industry, agriculture, and finance, worked sixteen hours a day and therefore did twice as much for the country. He abolished the highly unpopular tax on salt and put taxes on everything else; afterwards the salt tax came back somehow. He then established strict codes for every business, so that the manufacturers went bankrupt and the peasants lived on grass, nettles, and bread made of mud. Some of the peasants went so far as to dress up in rags.
Ouch! And this is just the beginning!