Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


PHILOMENA CUNK HAS CALLED HERSELF a cultural ambassador. I call her portrayer Diane Morgan a British wit who has worked with satirist Charlie Brooker to produce zany off-kilter humor. 

Diane Morgan, seen regularly these days as Philomena Cunk on Netflix “Cunk on Earth Season 1.” Image from N TUDUM, February 1, 2023.

In N TUDUM, February 1, 2023, Ariana Romero describes Philomena Cunk as “giving viewers a tour of the world… by asking hard-hitting questions like ‘Has a mummy ever ridden a bicycle?’ and ‘Is the Mona Lisa holding a balloon between her knees?’

Here are tidbits about this intrepid reporter and visionary philosopher, gleaned from various sources including her book Cunk on Everything. 

Cunk on Everything: The Encyclopedia Philomena, by Philomena Cunk, Two Roads, 2019. 

The Kingiest King. I first encountered Philomena in an hysterical send-up of Henry VIII; if ever there was, a royal devised from scratch for satire: “If the Tudors were the Kardashians of their time,” Philomena said, “this was their Kim. Henry the Eight, the kingiest king who ever kinged over Britain.”  

“Henry of Eight,” a trailer video.

Insects. From Cunk on Everything: “Insects are the smallest creatures in the world, and mainly look like punctuation with legs…. Everyone agrees that the worst insects are flies, and the best ones are butterflies. You can make most things better by adding butter (mashed potatoes, fried bread, Wotsits, etc.).”

Philomena says,  “One ant can carry up to 5,000 times its own weight, but the webpage I found this fact on didn’t say which ant.” 

Yes, I am occasionally baffled in my own research as well.

Michael Angelo. “The first artist to work out how to do bums properly was Michael Angelo. He did loads of bums and was even asked to paint bums on the roof of the Pope’s house. That’s Catholics for you.” 

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Image from SmartHistory.

Bacon, Francis. “Sir Francis Bacon was one of the most all-round clever people who has ever lived…. He was an English statesman, philosopher and Irish painter, who lived at the time of Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II.”

Above, Francis Bacon. Portrait by Paul van Somer, 1617. Below, Francis Bacon. Portrait by John Deakin, early 1950s. Both images from Wikipedia.

“He did so many things,” Philomena says, “that he is one of the few historical English/Irish figures requiring two completely different and contradictory Wikipedia pages.”

Battle of Hastings, The. “The year is 1066. (It isn’t any more, but you have to pretend it is to tell the story, apparently.) Britain is invaded by William of Normandy and his huge army, bringing their French cuisine and the Norman wisdom.”

William the Conquerer, c. 1028–1087, aka William I of England aka William the Bastard. You know how people talk. Depiction in the Bayeux Tapestry of the Battle of Hastings. Image from By the way, Cunk discusses The Baywatch Tapestry as well.

Cunk describes, “Cow becomes beef (boeuf), sheep becomes mutton (mouton) and hen becomes chicken (chicane)…. In just a few decades, England has become a sort of giant exchange trip, except without the fourteen hours on a coach eating nothing but Skips and the clumsy kiss with some oniony boy name Philippe because your best mate got Didier, the good-looking one.”

I haven’t even completed the B’s yet and I’ve paused several times to thank Philomena for her intrepid reporting and visionary philosophy. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023

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