The foundations of civilization

An interesting Twitter thread here:

“Cheese is one of the 5 things the Western book as we know it depends on. The other four are snails, Jesus, underwear and spectacles. If even one of these things was absent, the book you hold in your hand today would look completely different. I’ll explain why…”

This thread is at least moderately persuasive. It’s certainly interesting. By all means click through if you’ve got time to read through a long Twitter discourse.

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6 thoughts on “The foundations of civilization”

  1. If you haven’t read it, How to Invent Everything is a fun book on the subject of civilization’s underpinnings. My husband is obsessed with it, and loves giving it to people whenever there’s any sort of gift-giving situation

  2. I saw this a while back and was amused. I also was reminded of the old PBS show, “Connections”. But I thought the connections to snails was pretty weak.

  3. Sarah, I’ve got that, and enjoy dipping into it. It’s semi-permanently on my coffee table so I can pick it up at odd moments.

    Pete, yeah, probably, but on the other hand, “snails” is a fun item to plug into the list and I’m not surprised the person who put this together shoehorned snails in with other things that might have been more important.

  4. I found the “how to” book a bit much to take. The pose of superiority over those stupid past people kept turning up.

  5. @ Mary Catelli,
    Ah yes, chronological snobbery is one of the besetting sins of our age. This, despite the fact that we still do not create roads that last even a fraction as long as the Romans’.

  6. EC and Mary, yes, no kidding! Both snobbery on intellectual grounds and moral grounds, wrong in both cases. I don’t take How to Invent Everything seriously enough to care in that case, however, especially since I don’t read much of it at a time.

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