Terry Pratchett has become my go-to author for airplane reading. I can
almost always find one of the approximately 10,000 Discworld novels at
an airport bookstore. And the content is reliably entertaining without
being over-taxing to the three functioning brain cells that remain
after dealing with packing, traffic, and the TSA.
After reading a few of the Sam Vimes books – essentially, humorous cop
stories set in a fantasy world – I’m struck by the amazing amount of
wisdom contained in these pages. You can learn a surprising amount
about life and human nature from these little paperbacks.
Just for instance:
There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who’d had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called “The People”. Vimes had spent his life on the streets and had met decent men, and fools, and people who’d steal a penny from a blind beggar, and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he’d never met The People.
People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so, the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn’t that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn’t measure up.