Cente Watkins’s The Pokey Principle has become the seminal work in Pokey Studies, but has, hitherto this publication, remained largely unapproachable to the common reader. My goal in creating this abridged edition was to arrange, collect, and ignore the chapters in Watkins’ book in such a way that an interested non-expert could readily enter the study of Pokey the Penguin. To this end, I have greatly reduced this work, trimming 3,507 pages down to several dozen. Most of my associates have agreed that surprisingly little was lost through my labor.
According to the author’s mandate, I have preserved his preface, although the reader will note that many of its statements no longer apply to this new edition. This work no longer contains two volumes (Watkins’ personal history being completely eliminated), nor is it intended for “adherents of the movement.”
The introduction has been significantly trimmed down, in that it previously described the whole of the book. I have altered it in such a way that includes the discussion of Rudger Beerglass’s famous essay, and a mention of the Yoko and Pogo Principles, but little else.
The first chapter was decreased enormously when I chose to include only nine of Agosto’s Pokey analyses (the original work contained in excess of three hundred). I have deleted all of Watkins’ accompanying responses. Agosto’s “ironical halo” theory is presented in condensed form; before my replacement, Agosto’s own comments on the subject were taken, verbatim and unedited, from his 1990 book, Pathological Primas, and stretched across ninety pages.
The second chapter retains the whole of Watkins’ commentary on a selection from Thar Sets Zahutu’s Parka!, which is uncommonly short. I have removed his less interesting comments upon Crap’s Stevon (a transcribed, or possibly invented, dialogue between Steve Havelka and Stoolates), as well as those concerning The Book of Moron and Bennigan’s Barmitzvah.
The final chapter (“Chapter 3” in this volume, compiled from Chapters 3 through 96 from the unabridged edition) contains a few quotes from various sources, and Watkins’ commentary on these quotes. I had considered cutting this third chapter entirely, but was finally convinced that without it my new edition would be too thin to pose as a relevant text.
The resulting structure of the book is somewhat uneven, the introduction and first chapter being much longer than subsequent sections. This uneven organization was unavoidable, as I was unwilling to combine Chapter 2 with Chapter 3, which was already a simplified representative of ninety-four chapters. Combining ninety-five chapters into one struck me as disrespectful to the original work, and I was thus forced to create two smaller chapters after Chapter 1.
In several places where the original text is uselessly wordy, I have inserted my own summaries.