THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF LIPTON'S CUP-A-SOUP

Yes, I know it's a ridiculous meaningless title, and has nothing at all to do with the sketch, but there are only so many ways you can say "people at the coffee shop", and I've used all of them at least ten times. And that's what these are, just your garden variety coffeeshop habitués, which term invests them with unearned glamour, being French and all. They're just your average Joes, the type who, if pressed, will admit they believe torture is wrong, but let's not make a federal case of it, for God's sake. As opposed to the hard-core types who are making the cable-tv rounds claiming that torture is okay because it works. What? That's a claim that "beside the point" is horribly inadequate to describe--it's so far away from the point as to be in an entirely different universe from the point. Public beheading works, for god's sake! When our predecessors signed up for the whole morality thing, they didn't add a caveat saying "unless things get really hairy". It's easy to be moral when nothing's going on. It's precisely when things get hairy that we're called upon to live by our principles. I'm really getting tired of irony, but I can't resist tossing out this bit: it's the most vocal followers of the guy who said "do unto others..." who are quickest to dump such wishy-washy commie platitutes when they get frightened.

Well. Where was I? Oh yeah, these are just your ordinary salt-of-the-earth people, getting their coffee fix on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Norfolk.