An Interview with Dr. Moron

As an amateur language lover, I recently had the privilege of interviewing the esteemed and eccentric sage, Dr. Oxy Moron.

The most bizarre thing about Dr. Moron is that she speaks using only oxymoronic language, relying on her encyclopedic knowledge of notable quotations collected by wordsmiths like Mardy Grothe, Ambrose Bierce, and the good people at Oxford University Press.

Occasionally, Dr. Moron comes up with an original oxymoron. What follows is the partial transcript of that interview.

SG: I was told you are woman of profound wisdom. Are you not?

OM: It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish.

SG: So you're saying you are wise?

OM: Like Plato, I believe there is simple ignorance, which is the source of lighter offenses, and double ignorance, which is accompanied by a conceit of wisdom.

SG: OK, well, let's get to a few topics in the news. What do you think about John Roberts being confirmed as chief justice to the particular delight of those who say both the Constitution and Bible ought to be interpreted literally?

OM: There is no surer way to misread any document than to read it literally.

SG: Wow. You're not worried you'll be dismissed as anti-Christian and anti-patriot?

OM: Oh no, I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody's religious obligations, no matter how comical, to quote, ironically, the greatest of America's novelists, Herman Melville. And, as Edward Abbey observed, a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government.

SG: Let's leave that alone. Next question. Do you have any insights about what plagues our education system?

OM: Neil Postman said it best. The problem with our education system is that students go in as question marks and come out as periods. Besides, as Clarence Darrow asked, even if you learn to speak English correctly, to whom are you going to speak it?

SG: And I understand you think a huge problem with the U.S. education system is the craze over standardized testing?

OM: Yes, because I agree with G.K. Chesterton. The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things. Or as Will Durant put it: education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

SG: With regards to the indictment of Tom Delay and his unequivocal denial of the allegations, why do you think where there's smoke, there's fire?

OM: Because nobody believes a rumor in Washington until it has been officially denied.

SG: Moving on to another news item. Did you see the New York Times story about how Hurricane Katrina victims are being dealt another blow? It seems the new bankruptcy law, which takes effect on Oct. 17, will make it even more difficult for ''once-solvent'' Katrina victims. What I thought was interesting about the article is that the ''liberal'' Times said ''the law was intended to keep individuals from taking on debts they had no intention of paying off'' -- not had no means to pay off but intended not to pay off. What do you make of that?

OM: Debt -- an ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver, as Ambrose Bierce defined it. You see, everyone knows Bob Hope was right. A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it.

SG: Money can't buy happiness, right?

OM: Money can't buy happiness but it sure can make misery a whole lot better.

SG: Looking back, what are your thoughts now about President Bush's decision to invade Iraq?

OM: He has, indeed, done it very well; but it is a foolish thing well done, in the words of Samuel Johnson.

SG: Any parting advice?

OM: Last, but not least, avoid clichés, like the plague.


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