Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gucci Little Piggies

Proposition: Time-travel's full of paradoxes.

I loved "Back to the Future" as a kid and this bit never bothered me till now:

Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly travels back in time and ends up teaching a bunch of black musicians how to play rock and roll. One of the musicians ends up calling Chuck Berry and introducing him to Marty McFly's amazing new sound.

Aside from the inadvertent racial-offensiveness (a tossed-off story gag claiming that the father of rock and roll is NOT a black man but a dorky white kid who traveled back in time and schooled the black man), the question becomes, "Well, then, who created rock and roll in this fictional universe?"

Reducing the elements, let's take the position that Chuck Berry invented rock and roll. His music, and the music by people who were inspired by his music, ended up informing Marty McFly many years later. He, in turn, travels back in time and hands that information back to Chuck Berry before he's come up with the ideas on his own.

Then who created rock and roll? Marty McFly took it from Chuck Berry. But Chuck Berry took it from Marty McFly. It's a möbius strip of authorship.

Imagine I took a copy of "The Catcher in the Rye", time-traveled to 1936 and handed it to a 17-year-old J.D. Salinger, 15 years before the book was published. Years, perhaps, before the idea had germinated in his head. Handing him the book both gives him the idea and the entirety of the text. He doesn't have to go through the effort of creation because it's all there. He remains capable of producing that work—and in the original course of history, he DID produce that work—but how does it disrupt things by just giving it all to him? Maybe before he's ready for it?

And what would happen if I traveled back in time and published it as my own work?*

I'm going to wait for my future-self to visit me and give me copies of all the scripts I'll write. Then I'll just parcel out the hits as time floats by...

(*Douglas Adams suggested a paradox like this in "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", in which a small side-story is related of a man who travels back in time to publish someone else's book as his own, and proceeds to SUE the original author for copyright infringement.)

Is there such a thing as "etiquette" among the untamed naturals who inhabit the world of social networking sites?

How about "common sense"?

I've had to do more bloody weeding lately. It may be obvious, but "social networking friends" are not the same as "friends".

Do you know who I hate? Yes, well, I hate a great lot of people, to be sure, excessively documented herein... but I reserve a special pot of loathing for the Little Miss Popular High School Princesses who get carried through life by a coterie of sycophants and, consequently, have zero grasp of how human beings are supposed to act. The girls who have the emotional intelligence of retarded bubble-boys. Led to believe they have value by doting friends. They call themselves poets and then playwrights, and manage to acheive the faint semblance of career esteem by the collective thrust of liars and flatterers.

You know. Those people.

Kicking, squealing, Gucci little piggies. They deserve the greatest indignities of Hell. IMHO.

Clinton joins the race!

A well-articulated critical breakdown of what's wrong with "There Will Be Blood". (I still admire the film, though I agree with many of the things in this review.)


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