The joy of indices

March 19th, 2010 by

Today’s light entertainment: an old article from the Independent on the delights of book indices (indexes? You know what I mean, anyway).

One of my favourite sets of indices is from A.P. Herbert’s various collections of Misleading Cases, which if anything get more opinionated as time goes on. A short extract from Wigs at Work:

Barracuda, compared with surtax, 148
Big Ben, lying, a bad thing, 193. See also ‘Summer Time’
Blackmail, defined, 73. See also ‘Collector of Taxes’
Burglar: how much can a, be killed?, 165, 168, 169; use of garden fork against, commended, 165

Eggs: as negotiable instruments, 67; correct handling of, 71
Eton, regrettable incident at, traced to study of classics, 57

Haddock, Albert: [a full column of close-set type]
Intoxication, premature, attributed to Summer Time, 199
Jonah, wife of, her comments, unrecorded, 87
Lying, everyone presumed to be, in divorce court, 85

Right, first time: British Courts have little hope of being, 92
Rylands v. Fletcher: applies to computer, 209; does not apply to snails, 35
Swan, deplorable episode, 56. See also Leda
Thermometers, why not falsify? See ‘Summer Time’
Ultra Vires, to be pronounced in the good old English fashion, 128
Virtue, tax on, 97. See also Income Tax Acts
Wedding guests, harsh lot, 16


3 Responses to “The joy of indices”

  1. Kat Says:

    Delightful! This is one of the (many) things I love about Douglas Hoftstadter’s books also.

  2. Says:

    Yo, that’s what’s up truthfully.

  3. Says:

    Liam, since it’s clearly not working, I wonder what needs to change.I’m reluctant to suggest that police should get involved, and dubious even about prosecuting people who lie about how the electoral system works (whether for money or political gain). But getting politicians involved in rejigging the AEC is probably not good either, especially since we have the US as a model of how not to do it… their worship of partisanship extends to denying that it’s worth having professionals run their elections because party political hacks obviously do a better, suggestions?

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