Mr. Wormwood says “all I know I learnt from telly” which is excellent, turns out…you wouldn’t have ever believed that suddenly the most powerful person in the world is Mr. Wormwood, that literally all he knows he gets from bad TV shows. Like, it’s unbelievable. You just wouldn’t…if someone had told me that when I wrote Matilda, I would have gone, “Nah, Mr. Wormwood wouldn’t be able to become president.”
But Mrs. Wormwood kind of represents this, what has happened in the post-digital age, with information being sort of all equal, and depending on what website you read, you can believe some insane stuff, and you just stay in that community and have your poorly-formed opinions vindicated and exacerbated by bubbles. And we are all in our bubbles. Somehow we have to get through this era and figure out how to teach people to pass information, and to understand that there is such thing as truth, and there are such thing as experts, and there is such thing as data, and there is such thing as…you are flawed.
Indeed, Mr. Minchin always keeps an eye on the thin line between irony (which he isn’t particularly keen on) and satire (which he loves). What helped him understand Phil was an unlikely commonality.
“He learns to be kind and generous and altruistic without expectation of reward,” said Mr. Minchin, an outspoken atheist. “Anything that talks about the meaning of life without the cop-out is attractive to me.”
There’s no such thing as a perfect lyric but there is a sense that you haven’t wasted a syllable; the pursuit of a verse or a chorus that doesn’t waste anything feels exact in a way to me.