If Dogberry Had a Blog


Michael Keaton as “Dogberry” in “Much Ado About Nothing”

From “How to Practice ‘Vigitance’ without Offending Anyone”

  1. Sleep freely and without conviction:

In my humble experience, one of the least offensive ways of keeping a steady watch by night is to sleep at free and regular intervals. If you make it to morning unmolested, you will be as fresh as the bright dawn sun that greets you and more pleasurable company for your companions. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But, Dogberry, if I sleep, won’t that leave my company vulnerable to attack?” Truly, but fret not, for should a knave sneak up to your camp in the night and dispose of you while you slumber, think little of it, as you will soon greet your Savior in all of his radiant glory and no more will you need trouble about the cares of this life or the lives of your companions.

  1. How to deal with vagrants, thieves, and the like:

To stop a thief one must verify his thievery, and this can only be accomplished by letting him steal; if you stop him in the act, he ceases to be a thief. You then would commit a grave offense by arresting him since you saw to it that he did not become a thief. Of course feel free to stop any man to inquire of his intentions. But, in my humble opinion, it is usually best not to “touch pitch” as it were, and so get embroiled in the heat of unwanted conflict when, after all, I have only been commissioned to watch, not to stop. That being said, if the vagrant or knave directly interdicts[1] with your watching, then you are within your God-given rights to stay that individual. If he refuses to be stayed, then of course you must let him go his way, as the objective is to keep watch without causing offense.

From “How to Detect a Lying Knave”

  1. What is a liar?

A liar is any man or woman who speaks an untruth, slanders, gives false report, or who does any number of the following.[2] I am of the opinion that all liars are knaves, though whether all knaves are liars ‘tis a subject best left for its own section.

  1. What is a knave?

By knave of course we mean any person who by our office we judge to be dishonest. However, the real challenge comes when one tries to distinguish between a generic knave and what I tend to call an “arrant” knave, which may be indisposed[3] to doing the works of the devil, and on this basis we may reasonably conclude that the devil himself is also a knave, since he does his own works.

Sixth and Lastly – How do we know when someone is a lying knave?

Since we have established that all liars are knaves, it is not less than more than slightly unreasonably safe to judiciously suspect all liars of also being knaves. Of course, the real challenge is met when you encounter a lying knave who professes to be one, in which case you would be unwise to take him at his word. Thus, not taking him at his word, you must trust that he is a plain-dealing and honest man even though he has given false report concerning his own character. These are the worst kinds of lying knaves.

[1] Interferes.

[2] Dogberry of course means to say the “previous.”

[3] Predisposed.