Black, female and in charge of Baltimore

John Cleese

'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!'

'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!'

 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!'

With that phrase, used in several comedic sketches during a TV show in September 1970, the brilliant knuckleheads who were the writers and cast of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" created a meme that has periodically popped up in popular culture ever since. In its original context, it was employed to introduce and ridicule a trio of red-robed, 15th-century inquisitors who stood in for fanatics of all ages.

If there was a deeper thought behind the inspired silliness -- and there likely was, given the intelligence of Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, John Cleese and the others members of the comedy troop -- it is that,...

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