By Dougal Dixon
What unique creatures does the next day carry? Dougal Dixon's vintage paintings of speculative anthropology blends technological know-how and delusion in a beautiful zoology of the future.
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Extra info for After Man: A Zoology of the Future
But the new service manager is much more efficient than his predecessor and has begun to say (12) What’s the number again as though he knows that he should be able to remember it. And when I stayed for two nights in a bed-and-breakfast and had the same waitress each morning, she used two different ways of asking me whether I’d like tea or coffee. You can surely guess which of the following utterances she used on the first morning and which she took to be more appropriate on the second: (13) Is it tea or coffee (14) Would you like tea or coffee The law in Britain requires anyone selling alcohol to make sure that they sell it only to an adult, which they usually check with the formula (15) Are you over twenty-one Technically, an adult in Britain is anyone over eighteen, but the less confrontational formula ‘Are you over twenty-one’ is felt more appropriate because it allows answers like No, but I am over eighteen or I’m nineteen actually and not just the bald yes or no required by ‘Are you over eighteen’.
It was seven o’clock one Saturday night in Warsaw at the time of military rule in the 1980s. I was with a Polish colleague who was looking after me and we were on our way to a party. ’ She explained that General Jaruszelski, the then President, did not approve of drinking and so had decreed that no alcohol was to be sold after 5 pm on Saturday afternoons, not even in the hotels where at every other time of the week hard currency would buy you alcohol. So we hit on the idea of playing the stupid foreigner.
The barman is serving them when the barmaid appears and says (2) BARMAID: Are you two both together – well you know what I mean ME: I was wondering too ONE OF THE MEN: That’s how rumours get started Again, if we look at this exchange utterance by utterance, we see that our ability as pragmatically skilled conversationalists to recognize meanings that are implicit rather than explicit is crucial to our understanding. BARMAID: Are you two both together – well you know what I mean It’s clear from the barmaid’s ‘you know what I mean’ that the optimal meaning of ‘are you two both together’ is not the meaning she intends.
After Man: A Zoology of the Future by Dougal Dixon