Posted by: The Amoeba | March 29, 2009

The Grapes Are … What?

Blog buddy Doug Pascover, who for some time now has been compiling an updated version of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, also produces a weekly series of satirical essays under the heading The Prattler, likewise in emulation of Bierce. The current edition deplores the disappointment of liberal ideologues with the first 60 days of the Yeswecan Administration – just as conservative ideologues were disappointed with the 2922 millennia days of the Bushie Administration:

Liberals will always be disappointed by government, just as conservatives will always be. This is not only because the presidency has a way of drawing its inhabitants toward the center. It is also because, while reality has a way of withering the wise like raisins in the sun, the idealist the world stomps for wine.

Your Amoeba read this line, with its alliterative references to the fruit of the vine, and these words popped into his head ectoplasm:

For such worthy disappointees as these, the grapes will always be sour.

And then …

Y’know, I hadn’t heard, or thought of, Aesop’s fables in, like, forever. Which I thought odd, in a world that threatens to do a major (and probably grossly imperfect) sorting out of the grasshoppers from the ants, pronto.

So I thought I’d better dig in the archives a little, see what’s what with Aesop. I went online, and, to my relief, there is my childhood friend the fox, spotting the grapes, leaping at them time and again without success, the fruit being just out of reach, and finally giving up and stalking off with the words “The grapes are …”

Unripe? GREEN?!?

Whaddaya mean, “green”? What happened to the good ol’ nursery-rhyme staple sour, huh?!? This changes everything! You give up on sour grapes, but green ones? Now, that ol’ fox could come back with a ladder

This is as good a time as any to explain something. If it isn’t … well, remember Blogosphere Rule 1? The blogger is always right? And Rule 2: if the blogger is wrong, see Rule 1? OK. See Rule 1.

Where was … right, I was explaining something.

If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you’ll have (no doubt) noticed that I provide a lot of links to Wikipedia. I do this because Wikipedia is free and not-for-profit, and therefore linking to it likely will give the reader some relevant information on the point in question without dropping her down a spam hole.

I know that some people call the site Wikipedierror. Mostly people from for-profit information sites of the Encyclopedia LowerSlobboviana class, who are at least as pissed off at Wikipedia as the newspapers are at craigslist. Wikipedia is not a perfect source of information. But, no secondary source of information is perfect. If you look something up, and you see something that seems incredible, it’s essential to verify it.

Which I did. There, just as Wikipedia said, is the reference, in the earliest available Greek texts of Aesop’s fables, to “unripe” grapes. Complete with its possible implication of heterosexual pedophilia. Hey. I thought this story was about a fox. Not a wolf!

Revisionist interpretations of grapes are everywhere these days. It wasn’t too long ago that the story broke about the passage in the Koran that promises the martyr, not virginal women, but fresh white grapes as his reward in Paradise. Astronomers monitoring the universe with radio gear have written about a constant low-grade hum on their instruments, which they’ve tentatively identified as being noise left over from the Big Bang. An alternative explanation now presents itself: the hum is the collective sighs of relief of female departed souls, and the collective groans of disappointment of male ones.

This being Paradise we’re talking about, “sour grapes” from the gentlemen is probably disallowed.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.



  1. How about saltanas? Where is the phrase about worthy disappointees from?

    There was a study that showed the error rates at Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica being about the same, but I doubt EB has a listing for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  2. The avatar claims that it lives with an insultana …

    “Worthy disappointees” is an amoeboid inspiration, Doug. EB may have missed out on the Spaghetti Monster, but not on protistan phylogeny. Of course, its article on that isn’t very good …

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