Some day, somebody else besides me will
Call me by my stage name
They will
Call me Doctor Worm
Good Morning! How are you, I'm Doctor Worm.

Doctor Worm by They Might Be Giants

Doctor Worm by They Might Be Giants is a sharp satirical ditty explaining that content should come before presentation. I see presentation coming before content all day long. I go to websites with flashy introductions and empty bodies. I see students in the computer lab writing papers, spending fifteen minutes on the font and three minutes on typing the paper. Doctor Worm attempts to change that. In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain effectively satirizes superstition, greed, and gullibility in an attempt to change society.

Mark Twain satirizes superstition in mostly uneducated people. Before Pap comes back, Huck consults a hairball that had "a spirit inside of it" and it was also omniscient (26). Jim is the medium, and he says the hairball needs a quarter to work (26). Another example of superstition occurs when Huck touches the snakeskin, which haunts them throughout their journey. Huck and Jim believe that, because of the snakeskin, Jim is bitten "right on the heel" and, because of that, Jim eats a roasted section of the dead snake (59). Mark Twain has a central theme of critical thinking, and with superstition, people cannot be critical thinkers.

It seems to me that without critical thinking, people become greedy. The King wishes to rob the Wilkes family of "everything," although the Duke would rather leave some possessions to the daughters (175). The King and the Duke are exaggerations of the greed in society at the Pokeville camp meeting, where the King pretends to be a reformed pirate that needs money to go back to the Mediterranean (133-134). The King shows his worst greed when he trades Jim for forty dollars and the money is "spent on whisky" (211). Mark Twain shows what ultimately happens to greedy people when the Duke and the King are tarred and feathered (225).

Greedy people often prey on gullibility. Critical thinkers are capable of meta-cognition and validate their sources. At the Pokeville camp meeting, the people never stop to think if it is logical that a reformed pirate is going to convert other pirates. The King says he has been "a pirate for thirty years" and has come back for funding (133). A critical thinker would ask why the King has come to Parkville and not a city, like New York, on the coast. I believe gullible people reduce society's ability to function as a whole by expending resources on greedy people.

I think greed, gullibility, and superstition are human traits that reduce society's efficiency and detract from critical thinking. In Doctor Worm, the fictional musical artist, named Doctor Worm, plans his entire musical career, barely knowing how to play the drums. Huck begins with his life planned out, with the widow trying to "sivilize" him, barely knowing how to be a good person.

Page References:The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, published by Perfection Learning Company.

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