Friday, October 1, 2010

A Product of Silence

Feigned Acceptance
Passive Aggressiveness

On the other hand, there is the CONE OF SILENCE. One of my favorite gags on Get Smart. When the Chief has something so ultra-secret to tell Max he cannot risk saying it in the open room. Enter the Cone of Silence. I think they tried it in the movie, but like so many of these campy, dated bits, they lose something in the translation or they're simply not funny the first time. But as a regular follower of Get Smart, once the gag was in place, you could wait for it, like waiting for Ziegfried to say, well anything. It comes to mind that such reminiscing (geezing) is probably like when my parents used to tell me how they would sit in front of the radio and wait for "classic" lines like "don't open the closet, McGee!" I guess you just had to be there.

While in Germany I was reading a comic strip at one of the sites I visited. It told of a tourist trying to buy postcards in some country that had no vowels in its name. Thinking it would help the merchant understand him better, he keeps raising his voice but saying the same thing (postcards!) over and over. No postcards for him. And typically, the Chief only got an aneurism from trying to use the Cone of Silence.

But in the "classic" movie Brother Orchid, Edward G. Robinson becomes revered for the quality of his garden and the money it brings to the monastery. Eventually he "comes clean" and tells his brothers he has been cheating them the entire time by paying others to do his work, and skimming the difference or some similar scam. He is truly guilt ridden and ashamed and his confession is difficult. After a few moments of silence as his confession is contemplated by the monks, he is simply accepted. Yet he cannot understand why. It is explained to him thus: 

"When one speaks from his heart, others must listen"

A Product of Silence, indeed.

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