The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams- Quote Collections and ACAB
“…History is never altered you see, it just fits together like a jigsaw, Funny old thing, life, isn’t it?”Ford Prefect, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, pg. 303
ACAB [All Cops Are Bastards/Bad] is a movement alongside Black Lives Matter, demanding lower police and military funding in exchange for education and social services. While reading The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, a compilation of Douglas Adams’ five novels, I was surprised to see the sentiment reflected quite clearly. In this situation Zaphod, now on the run ex-president, is being pursued by police across the galaxy while accompanied with girlfriends Trillian, friend Ford, and earthman Arthur. See below:
A voice on a bullhorn said, “Okay, Beeblebrox, hold it right there. We’ve got you covered.”Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, pg.136-137
“Cops!” hissed Zaphod, and spun around in a crouch. “You want to try a guess at all, Ford?”
“Okay this way,” said Ford, and the four of them ran down a gangway between two computer banks.
At the end of the gangway appeared a heavily armored and space-suited figure waving a viscous Kill-O-Zap gun.
“We don’t want to shoot you, Beeblebrox!” shouted the figure.
“Suits me fine!” shouted Zaphod back, and dived down a wide gap between two data process units.
The others swerved in behind him.
“There are two of them,” said Trillian. “We’re cornered.”
They squeezed themselves down in an angle between a large computer data bank and the wall.
They held their breath and waited.
Suddenly the air exploded with energy bolt as both the cops opened fire on them simultaneously.
“Hey, they’re shooting at us.” said Arthur, crouching in a tight ball. “I though they said they didn’t want to do that.”
“Yeah, I thought they said that,” agreed Ford.
Zaphod stuck a head up for a dangerous moment.
“Hey,” he said, “I thought you said you didn’t want to shoot us!” and ducked again.
After a moment a voice replied, “It isn’t easy being a cop!”
“What did he say?” whispered Ford in astonishment. “He said it isn’t easy being a cop.”
“Well, surely that’s his problem, isn’t it?”
“I’d have thought so.”
Ford shouted out, “Hey, listen! I think we’ve got enough problems of our own having you shooting at us, so if you could avoid laying your problems on us as well, I think we’d all find it easier to cope!”
Another pause, and then the bullhorn again.
“Now see here, guy,: said the voice, “you’re not dealing with any dumb two-bit trigger-pumping morons with low hairlines, little piggy eyes and no conversation, we’re a couple of intelligent caring guys that you’d probably quite like if you met us socially! I don’t go around gratuitously shooting people and then bragging about it afterward in seedy space-rangers bars, and like some cops I should mention! I go around shooting people gratuitously and then I agonize about it afterwards for hours to my girlfriend!”
“And I write novels!” chimed in the other cop. “Though I haven’t had any of them published yet, so I better warm you, I’, in a meeeean mood!”
Ford’s eyes popper halfway out of their sockets. “Who are there guys?” he said.
“Dunno,” said Zaphod, “I think I preferred it when they were shooting.”
“So are you going to come quietly,” shouted on of the cops again, “or are you going to let us blast you out?”
“Which would you prefer?” shouted Ford.
A millisecond later the air around them started to fry again, as bolt after bolt of Kill-O-Zap hurled itself into the computer bank in front of them.
The fusillade continued for several seconds at unbearable intensity.
When it stopped, there were a few seconds of near-quietness as the echoes died away.
“You still there?” called on of the cops.
“Yes,” they called back.
“We didn’t enjoy doing that at all,” shouted the other cop.
“We could tell,” shouted Ford.
“Now, listen to this, Beeblebrox, and you better listen good!”
“Why?” shouted back Zaphod.
“Because,” shouted the cop, “it’s going to be very intelligent, and quite interesting and human! Now- either you all give yourselves up now and let us beat you up a bit, though not very much of course because we firmly opposed to needles violence, or we blow up this entire planet and possibly one or two others we noticed on our way out here!”
“But that’s crazy!” cried Trillian. “You wouldn’t do that!”
“Oh yes, we would,” shouted the cop, “wouldn’t we?” he asked the other one.
“Oh yes, we’d have to, no question,” the other one called back.
“But why?” demanded Trillian.
“Because there are some things you have to do even if you are an enlightened liberal cop who knows all about sensitivity and everything!”
Imagine my surprise when I came across this great analogy showing support for dismantling the two party system in the United States from British writer Douglas Adams in a book published in 1982.
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see….”Douglas Adams, So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, pg. 597
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people, The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I though you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “Of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got an gin?”
Facts are increasingly subjective amongst cries of fake news and biased reporting.
“But you know there’s a whole Universe out there!” cries Zarniwoop. “You can’t dodge your responsibilities by saying they don’t exist!”Douglas Adams, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, pg. 283
The ruler of the Universe thought for a long while while Zarniwoop quivered with anger.
“You’re very sure of your facts,” he said at last. “I couldn’t trust h=the thinking of a man who take the Universe- if there is one- for granted.”
Zarniwoop still quivered, but was silent.
“I only decide about my Universe,” continued the man quietly. “My Universe is my eyes and my ears. Anything else is hearsay.”
“But don’t you believe in anything?”
The man shrugged and picked up his cat.
“I don’t understand what you mean,” he said.
“You don’t understand that what you decide in this shack of yours affects the lives and fates of millions of people? This is all monstrously wrong!”
“I don’t know. I’ve never met all these people you speak of. And neither, I suspect, have you, They only exist in words we hear, It is folly to say you know what is happening to other people. Only they know, if they exist. They have their own Universes of their eyes and ears.”
“You cannot see what I see because you see what you see. You cannot know what I know because you know what you know. What I see and what I know cannot be added to what you see and what you know because they are not of the same kind, Neither can it replace what you see and what you know, because that would be to replace you yourself.”Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless, pg. 703
“Hang on, can I write this down?” said Arthur, excitedly fumbling in his pocket for a pencil.
“You can pick up a copy at the spaceport,” said the old man, “They’ve got racks of the stuff.”
“Oh,” said Arthur, disappointed,. “Well, isn’t there anything that’s perhaps a bit more specific to me?”
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you,. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”
A fantastic collection of some of Douglas Adams’ best work, I highly recommend The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Look out for opportunities to learn about yourself, there’s more than one might expect.