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19 December 2005

The Taxonomy of Insanity

I am ashamed to announce that I still haven't finished the Quantity Theory of Insanity, because I keep reading other things in between. Last night I tried again, and came upon the following passage on page 130 in my Penguin edition:

"Sid was now living in a small commune in the Shetland Islands, where he and his fellow communards were dedicated to the growing of implausibly large hydroponic onions. The other members of the commune were eccentric but not quite as unhinged as Sid. They believed that their ability to grow the four-foot legumes was wholly predicated on the orbital cycle of Saturn's satellite, Ceres."

This bothers me immensely; onions are not legumes. Onions are monocots for a start (in the family Liliaceae or in their own family Alliaceae, depending on who you talk to). Legumes are things like beans, peas etc. in the family Fabaceae, along with acacias and the like, and are obviously dicots. This has now completely ruined the whole thing for me. Surely these two kinds of vegetables are the exact examples used to explain this difference in school? And all of this for want of a funky synonym for 'onion'...

3 comments:

Karen Little said...

Maybe it's just that the members of the commune thought that onions are legumes - they're kind of dumb and mad, remember? Maybe the author was just trying to highlight exactly how misguided his characters actually were, mistaking one plant species for another...

I can't figure out how to do blod and italics and stuff whilst in this window - help?

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

I've thought of that, and yet I still think it's just a fact error. It would be such an obtuse and convoluted way to purposefully highlight the sanity quotient of the commune. Also, it's part of the narrator's little spiel, not part of anything said by one of the characters.

PS: you need to open the HTML tag as above, type your text, and then close it again with a / before the b, i, or a.

Debaser said...

That sounds like the Leon I know...