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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)

Goof's Hocussed History

page 86

Goof's Hocussed History

Historic Feats And Counterfeits.

Do I know history?” said Mr. Goof. “I am history. I make it. Why, bless your dates and doubts, I can make bigger and better history in five minutes than the whole pack of kings and queens and jacks and aces have dealt in five hundred years. Don't tell me that you've never read Goof's Historical Feats And Counterfeits, Goof's Readied Records, A Spoof With Goof and Goofy Glimpses at the Unknown. Why, you'd never believe what I can tell you. I am oh fake with history in all its rumifications, natural and unnatural, straight and distorted, on the level and over the odds, ancient and immoderate.”

“But is not history a record of fact, Mr. Goof?”

“A figment for fact! Fact is a fallacy,” cried Mr. Goof. “Veracity is the root of all dullness, and illusion is the spice of knowledge; the slickness of the hand-out deceives the I, and it's never too late to amend. History to-day is too old-fashioned. It lacks enterprise. It's not original. But I have got the Holly-wood on it. All my facts are founded on fiction. My history is exclusive. It's so improbable that you can't help believing it.

The Credibility of The Incredible.

“Haven't you observed that, as soon as a thing seems likely, nobody wants to hear about it? But when it's utterly unbelievable everybody wants to believe it? In the words of Ana-know-us, we strain at a snack and swallow a mangle. If I tell you that Noah put to sea in the Ark you merely say, “Yeah; saw it at the pictures.” But if I assure you that the Ark put to sea in Noah your interest is immediately whetted—soaked, in fact. When you hear the old story of how Henry VIII made a slip-knot of the marriage tie, you merely think of him as The Marry Monarch, the king who played Crown and Anchor without the anchor, the monarch who approached matrimony rather as a hobby than a hubby, history's most persistent widower. But when I tell you that, to Hen, women were the fear sex, and that he stayed single and kept his old mother, you are carried away by my tour de farce.

Victims of Truth.

“It's the unexpected that always should happen. If you are told that a man fell out of a seventh-storey window to the footpath you accept it as a natural thing to do these days. But if you are assured that a man fell from the footpath to a seventh-storey window you are amazed, amused and incredulously credulous. Now just imagine what a dull world it would be if we were all the victims of truth. Fishing, golfing and horse-racing would die of perfidious anaemia. And how would novelists make an honest living with nothing to fall back on except dull truth? As things are, the broken-hearted heroine twangs ‘the heart bowed down’ on your soul-strings when she sobs to her playboy
“Iva B. Squint offered Guy Fawkes half a million dollars.”

“Iva B. Squint offered Guy Fawkes half a million dollars.”

spouserino, ‘Oh, Basil, why did you have to do-hoo this thing to me. Something has di-hied in my heart.’ To make such a passage conform to the vicissitudes of fact she would have to snap, ‘You miserable little lounge-hound; I'll break your head-lights if I see you lamping that skinny little permanent-waver again. Believe me, Basil-boy, there'll be something limp found on your doorstep if you don't mind your sequeeze and cues.’ No sir; it would never do to reproach art with the stain of certitude—or words to that effect. And who'd go to the pictures if they weren't so durned unnatural that they make reality look as colourless as a blameless life. What would be the use of them if they didn't make you feel what a devil you could be if only you could be a devil? My objection to history is that it hasn't moved with the times. William the Conk, frinstance, did his stuff at Hastings in ten-sixty-six and not a thing has been done about it since. Can you imagine anything more monotonous?
page 87

The Monotony Of Veracity.

“Every thing has been improved except history. If man had remained content with Nature's economics, how could we have progressed to our present stage of enlightened anxiety? No sir, it's high time history was brought up-to-date, like breakfast foods, movie morals, scientific slaughter and child welfare; and I'm the man to do it. They have revised the prayer book, the dictionary, the cookery book, the domesday book, and the bookmaker's chart; but what have they done about modernising history? The antiquated stuff they put across is a disgrace to progress. Now, take Christopher Columbus. What have the continuity writers done about him? Christopher Columbus discovered America? Nothing of the kind. America discovered Christopher Columbus. I got the exclusive low-down on the whole hocus. Chris was cruising within cracker-throw of the Gulf of Mexico when he was hailed by the yacht of I. Makit Snappy, the ten-way lipstick king who made his fortune out of a kiss-confection that you can use for chewing, flavouring salads, colouring your lips or your lamps, mending motor tyres, gingering up cocktails, shining your shoes or dying your hair. He was tickled to death by Christopher's cute little cocktail cabaret, and offered him half a million dollars for it as a gooing concern. For years it was moored off Florida and known as ‘Chris's.’ Yes, sir, Columbus may not have discovered America, but he discovered a lot of things and died of boot-and-leg disease in the year 99 per cent. O.P.

A Burning Shame.

“And take the Great Fire of London. It's a burning shame the way the possibilities of the conflagration have been neglected. No news value, no highlights, no hot headlines! Just burnt out embers preserved for posterity. But believe me, boy, I have warmed it up. Got it straight from Guy Fawkes before he took the job as
Ethelred The Unready

Ethelred The Unready

“New Zealand was discovered by a Dutch towing company.”

“New Zealand was discovered by a Dutch towing company.”

chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department. ‘Twas Iva B. Squint of Squinties Unlimited who thought of it. Competition in the movie world was so keen that newsreel men had to shoot things before they happened to keep ahead of the times. Iva B. Squint got the notion that if he could set London alight he could make a hit by calling it the burning of Rome with Hannibal and Pharoah playing the bagpipes on an elephant in the foreground. So he offered Guy Fawkes half a million dollars and the leading part in The Midnight Follies of 1666 to get it lit up. It went like a house on fire, or at least it would have if Oliver Flick hadn't sneaked in, shot the fire, and, with the help of Helen of Troy, George Washington, Nell Gwynn, Titus Oates, the Dolly sisters, and the Iron Duke, produced it as Hot Babies.

The Dutch Of It.

“And to get closer to home, my researches in the realms of subterfuge prove delusively that New Zealand was discovered by a Dutch towing company—probably the one that tugged Wellington's floating dock from old England. Mind you, I am not decrying Maui's fishing feat in pulling up New Zealand on a string. After all, the Maoris didn't have the educational advantages offered by Professors Ananias and Jonah; and I could have told them a thing or six m'self. I have it on the most unauthentic authority that the Dutch found New Zealand floating about the Antarctic while they were towing up icebergs for the Chilean ice-cream industry. Thinking that it would come in handy for filling up the Zuider Zee, which was Holland's chief farming problem on account of its entire lack of land, they took it in tow. But they hadn't gone far when they ran into a snifter, or a cold schnapps as it is called in the Dutch. So they anchored New Zealand while they went home for a couple of Flying Dutchmen to help them out. While they were away it broke into three pieces. And I might say that no one need fear the few little quivers we get at times, for it's only the anchors dragging a mite. When Abel Tasman got back to plant the national cheese and thus claim New Zealand for Holland he found that it was inhabited by Polly Nesian and her family who looked as though they were not so fond of cheese. So Tasman sailed home to his old Dutch. He was tough but the Maoris didn't look fussy. I could give you a heap more hocustorical facts that would surprise you. Why,” said Mr. Goof, “I even surprise m'self at times.”

page 88