Waffling in THREE dimensions.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Another Undead Post (Now with less links!)

I only just now learned that Facebook has a character limit for their wall posts. This is unfortunate because I composed a post of epic quality (and proportions apparently). More unfortunate is how easily you can accidentally lose everything you wrote to your friend because you apparently didn't have the right box selected when you pressed backspace, navigating away in a heap of text and tears. But this time my carefully crafted comment will not be lost to the aether, although they will probably be read less than if I had actually posted in on their wall. Posting it here seems appropriate anyways as my comment was originally a response to a comment she left on this post, but it grew like so many expanding foam animals in a sink.

The Uno is neat. It's like a Segway with half the wheels and twice the douche-factor! And it's so futuristic!

In my prophetic vision of the future, after the undead have destroyed society as we know it, everyone will ride people movers and wear silver jumpsuits. Humanity lives in an technocratic utopia, which is not all it appears to be. Hordes of undead ghouls have forced mankind to form elaborate catacomb filled mega-cities governed by an abusive, authoritarian power and their mysterious unimotocycled constabulary to mandate a communal mindset and suppress dissent. But in one pristine metropolis, one man is about to make a mess of things....

Prometheus, portrayed by Adam Baldwin, has reinvented the laser pistol, a technology forbidden by the oppressive Council. Prometheus's simple life, and hidden in the Union House of Cremains Production and Distribution begins to unravel when his confidant International 4-8818 (Steve Buscemi) is seized for illegal artistic expression and the Council determines that Prometheus's secret scientific transgressions, forbidden love to Gaea (Zooey Deschanel), and individualistic ideals threaten to corrupt the collectivist mindset they have created. One voice refuses to be silenced in this stunning, futuristic adaptation of Ayn Rand's Anthem. Special guest appearance by Hugo Weaving.

I'm actually kind of glad FaceSpace ate my first draft which just a series of run-on sentences describing a ridiculous (and awesome) chase sequence where Adam Baldwin is pursued by some sort of super-secret soldiers across the megalopolis entirely on Unos with Zooey Deschanel clinging to his back (does the Uno have a back seat?) telling him to Watch out! and generally making things difficult for our hero to both comedic and dramatic effect.

Honestly I didn't care for Anthem when I first read it in ninth grade (mandated), but I actually think this bastardization of the material could work pretty well. Certainly as well as I,Robot did. In my mind, of the aforementioned undead hordes that rise to destroy humanity, the first is Ms. Rand herself as retribution for this idea.

I have mixed feelings towards mandated readings. Towards the end of High School I faked my way through a lot of the readings and I regret that to an extent, depending on the text. Not every book will be as palpable to people as Harry Potter is and then there is the mess of trying to decide the moral and ethical value of the messages a novel contains. That's not even considering the cultural literacy aspect of a novel like Lord of the Flies. You don't want to be that guy who doesn't get the allusion . Although public television in particular, and television in general, are often enough to provide a passing familiarity. Everyone knows Alice fell down a rabbit hole, but no one knows what the hell that damn dodo was talking about. Intentionally, I'm sure.

And there are various degrees of familiarity based on exposure. I can call someone a Boo Radley or Captain Ahab and maybe even an Ender Wiggin and they'll probably (or hopefully) know what I'm talking about but I can't necessarily reference Solanum the way I can Soma and expect someone to understand my intention, although I believe that the novel containing the former was a best seller. I admit, I can't define the parameters of what a best seller is or even ought to be. People often cite the Bible as the best seller, and while I can imagine them being continually printed and distributed, it feels like a misnomer. Maybe my imagination just isn't powerful enough to conjure the staff at Powell's restocking their Bibles. And then the relationship between sales and influence is mysterious as well. Looking through those who's who of literature, I can only claim a few (to my shame) and those that I have I can't say I recall fondly, but I shouldn't make the mistake of ignoring brilliant and revolutionary ideas on account of an authors pedantic, altogether unfamiliar, or otherwise inaccessible writing styles. And just saying a piece of literature was influential, doesn't mean it will be read, even if it is mandated. For example, the Communist Manifesto is on this list of most influential books and wasn't assigned. In fact, of my friends who have read it I know at least one did it purely to seem hip in high school. He also thought it looked amazing as a piece of furniture next to his copy of The Wealth of Nations, the hippness of which I can't recall.

Anyways, I think I've carried this far enough, or even too far. I had planned to conclude with that quote by Mark Twain saying that a classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

And then I wonder why that book opposed to others and I get trapped in a case of circular cause and consequence wondering whether a book was assigned because it was important or important because it was signed. I do the same thing with sideburns sometimes too. Do cooler people have sideburns or do sideburns make you cooler? Is the coolness of a pair of sideburns independent of person wearing them???

I don't know man, but it keeps me up at night.

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