Why Is an Argument Clinic
Less Silly than an Abuse
Clinic or a Contradiction
Monty Python's Flying Circus drove numerous young people of my generation into philosophy. Having been driven into philosophy and stayed, I'm startled to notice how many references to philosophy in Monty Python have some basis in the reality of philosophy as a profession. The Bruces' Philosopher's Song (also known as the Australian Philosophers' Song), for example, is simultaneously a comment on the incongruity of an Australian accent (regarded by elitist Britons as crass and un-intellectual) combined with something as serious and highbrow as philosophy, and a tribute to the enormous influence that Australian philosophers had over English-speaking philosophy at the time, and still have.
Perhaps most striking of all to a practicing philosopher is the “Argument Clinic” sketch (Monty Python's Flying Circus, Episode 29, “The Money Programme”). The customer enters the Argument Clinic, after a false start with Mr. Barnard in the abuse room:
MR. BARNARD: What do you want?
CUSTOMER: Well, I was just…
MR. BARNARD: Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of