Sunday, January 18, 2015

A million memories in the trees and sands, oh no How can I ever let them go?

After a marathon meeting in the Wigglesworth Lounge of the Old Entomologist, dominated by robust debate, consumption of Christmas Ale and flinging of crockery, the Riddled Amateur Dramatic Society agreed that the first production of 2015 will be an adaptation of "Shakespeare's Memory", the last work by Jorge Luis Borges.

Tigris noted that in the original text, the narrator (Hermann Sörgel) presents himself as an unassuming Shakespearean scholar. Also his account of being overlaid with a second memory makes no mention of a journey to Mars, let alone joining the Martian Resistance movement and finally fulfilling their objectives (though only after betraying them to the authorities), as is depicted in the script outline tabled by Another Kiwi. Also too she was skeptical whether Arnold Schwartzenegger would be available to play Sörgel.

AK suggested that Sörgel was just very modest about his accomplishments. He is known to have devoted his career to the idea of reclaiming vast areas of seabed for agriculture and habitation by draining the Mediterranean, Deep beneath the autumn lake, where only echoes penetrate; which the Borges story does not mention either.

Smut Clyde complained about leakage of lyrics from the Prog-Rock channel and asked about the long-promised flux shielding for the cryotanks.
Swearing Bob raised the issue of feckin' intellectual feckin' property and copyright gobshite.

AK reminded the meeting that the genre of "Secondary acquired memory sets" really began with J.B.S. Haldane's last, uncompleted novel, making Borges just a Johnny-come-lately plagiarist with no cause for complaint.

Smut Clyde took issue with the harsh term 'plagiarist', and opined that the thematic duplication was more likely a manifestation of the Morphogenetic Field -- a non-causal, unlocalised organising principle, which allows one person's actions to carve new ruts in Reality that steer other individuals to unwittingly repeat the same actions, Riding inter-city trains, dressed in European grey, riding out to Echo Beach.

Tigris inquired about progress with retraining the 'Replicating Shakespeare' team of monkey typists to work in the style of Haldane, in order to provide the unwritten concluding chapters of 'The Man with Two Memories'.
AK vouchsafed his optimistic assessment that a simian replacement for the missing chapters was not far away, and that he "would not be at all surprised" if it proved to involve underground drilling machinery at the Martian colony. Greenish Hugh countered that progress had been slow because the monkeys lacked motivation and could not be cajoled out of a negative attitude of "it's no use" and "what's the point?" and "why bother trying?" In retrospect he conceded that it might have been a mistake to hire the workforce from Seligman's Learned Helplessness experiments.

Evangeline van Holsterin visited the table to replenish the plenished glasses and to disentangle Space-Time Eddie from the overhead light fitting. She observed (to ensuing hilarity) that despite assistance from an infinite team of monkey butlers over a considerable passage of time, the Riddled directors were no closer to attaining good taste or colour coordination in their clothing.

Smut Clyde proposed that the monkey typists should begin with a simpler task to encourage them and 'ease them into the zone'. He tabled a 1928 passage from J.B.S. Haldane, dramatising the scale dependence of the effect of air resistance; and a 1931 passage in which H. G. Wells independently came up with the identical way of illustrating the point:
We know that the similarity of phrasing was unintentional because Wells' publishers never retracted The Science of Life for plagiarism... so it must be the Morphogenetic Field again. The double occurrence having deepened the ruts in reality, the ease with which words will fall again into the same combination borders on inevitability.

A motion that "We must not allow a mineshaft gap" was passed with acclamation, and the meeting was adjourned sine die, Somehow we drifted off too far, communicate like distant stars.
1976 review:

This is my favourite J. B.S. Haldane story.


ckc (not kc) said...

I thought the whole point of a mineshaft was the gap?

Yastreblyansky said...

ckc--of course, but people have to be informed how to exploit it; hence the "Mine the Gap" signs everywhere Underground.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

If the underground weren't so feckin' weak, its protection powers would be greater than just an odd mouse or three.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It's too bad Sörgel didn't live to see the genius of Operation Plowshare- he could have gotten rich by grifting the US Department of Defense.

rhwombat said...

I may not be a colorectal surgeon (thank Dog) but I do have an inordinate fondness for Jack Haldane .
"Cancer’s a Funny Thing:
I wish I had the voice of Homer
To sing of rectal carcinoma,
This kills a lot more chaps, in fact,
Than were bumped off when Troy was sacked..."

Smut Clyde said...

Jack had moved on from Oxford to UCL by the time my mother was at the former, so despite lavish use of Analeptic Alzabo I have not inherited any direct memories of him.

Smut Clyde said...

If I recall correctly, Mr BBBB, Operation Plowshare was under AEC control, not the DoD. If that is your real name.

rhwombat said...

He had moved to India by the time my father was at UCH, and died before I got there, so I had to use handheld analog random access devices and the talking type wireless until the advent of w3 and the Riddled ADS.
If i recall the AEC was where they stored the denizens of the DoD with eerily long half-lives...
General "Buck" Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?
Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.
Ambassador de Sadesky: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

Another kiwi said...

Let the record show that I said no good would come of throwing transgenic mouse down the mine shaft with copies of "Mein Kampf".