Proof I am Like This in Real Life
Posted on May 13, 2003 Posted by John Scalzi 8 Comments
We enter a recent IM conversation between Bill and John shortly after John notes that he’s thinking of taking Athena to Disneyland at some point in the reasonably near future:
[12:47] bill: Excellent idea. Children should go to Disneyworld-or-land. Although you should avoid the Small World ride.
[12:48] john: Yes. Nightmares.
[12:48] bill: Yes.
[12:49] john: Although, relatively speaking to the average size of the planets in the solar system, and those we’ve discovered elsewhere, it is a small world. I mean, it’s factually correct.
[12:50] bill: Hm, well, that depends on how you average it, doesn’t it? I mean, yes, if you just average the masses and divide by nine, sure.
[12:51] john: Well, averaging diameters as well.
[12:51] bill: But on the other hand, only four of the planets are larger. The other four are smaller.
[12:51] john: Well, earth is the median, sure. But that’s not the same thing.
[12:52] bill: I don’t know. I feel certain that anything the dolls sing must be incorrect. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.
[12:53] john: I would grant that their process is wildly wrong — that is to say that their rationale for concluding it’s a small world is deeply flawed. However, the conclusion is verifiable.
[12:54] john: Indeed, none of the accumulated data within the song even remotely leads to the conclusion that it’s a small world after all. At best, it concludes that it’s a world of indeterminate emotional states, rooted in a communal impulse.
[12:54] bill: (phone)
[12:54] john: Likely excuse.
At first you say the singing puppets have reached the correct conclusion (compared other planets, Earth is small), but then you chide them for getting there the wrong way?
They’re PUPPETS, man! It’s a wonder they can sing at all. Lousy Pinnochio, setting a bad example like that…
It is not a wonder. It is a nightmare. And if you don’t believe me, then you get trapped in the ride for forty-five minutes, while the dolls continue repeating the damn song.
Not all wonders are good things, Bill. And the only way you’ll catch me in that ride in the first place is if you’ve given me earplugs, a shotgun, and a crate of ammo. Sure, it’s not sporting, but whattya gonna do?
“It’s a world of indeterminate emotional states, rooted in a communal impulse” just throws off the meter too much. Might as well toss rhythm to the winds and sing “There’s so much that we agree upon within the narrow bounds of consensual reality / that it’s time — here using a linear model of ‘time’ — we expand our collective consciousness to acknowledge / it’s a world of indeterminate…” etc.
I wouldn’t want to be the one who had to do the translations, though.
You’re all overthinking this. The only real solution is to burn the freakin’ thing to the ground.
It’s a world of ashes, a world of char
It’s a world no longer paired with Pixar
There’s so much that we burned
That it’s time we all learned
It’s a scorched earth after all.
I think the bigger curse is that song you hear when you go to FAO Shwarz. There’s fewer words and it’s much more obnoxious. However, it is undeniably a world of toys, so at least it’s accurate, if you care to define “world” as a store. I guess it’s a world to the toys stuck there who have never been so fortunate as to be bought and thus introduced to the rest of the world.
Oh, man, the FAO Schwarz song. I once went into the store in Bellevue Square Mall (Bellevue, WA) while doing some Christmas shopping. When I’d found what I wanted, I went to the register; the woman behind the counter looked like she was maybe twenty, and had that “too-calm” look about her. I asked her how long it took for that song to drive you crazy beyond hope of recovery.
She glanced around for a moment, probably making sure there were no managers nearby, looked at me, and said, “Please kill me.”