Saturday, September 4, 2010

Step Right Up, Have Your Boarding Pass Ready -OR- An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Each day that I spend interacting with busy important people doing busy important things convinces me that the Golgafrinchans had the right idea. We need a `B' Ark!
There is mounting evidence that our world is doomed. Climate change, extremists, war lords, imminent nuclear proliferation in questionable hands, unhinged wingnuttery and a near complete re-defining of worth in a civilized society...

Just think of the potential here. You too can be one of the few, the ELITE advance team who will set up and organize the next new world! You go ahead. Get it all set up, JUST THE WAY YOU LIKE IT, and we'll be right behind you. We promise!

If you have not read HHGTTG, or if you only saw the interesting but incomplete 2005 version, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. The BBC TV version is out there and is fine viewing, but reading the words as Douglas Adams intended before seeing it translated is the best approach. It will make you appreciate both forms.

The B Ark concept is fucking brilliant, but I fear we'd need more than one just to accommodate our bureaucrats. Adams' `B' Ark only held 15 million. Two would be adequate, but three would provide the kind of cleansing enema that is needed.

"What," he said, "is a 'B' Ark?"

"This is," said the Captain, and swished the foamy water around joyfully with the duck.

"Yes," said Ford, "but ..."

"Well what happened you see was," said the Captain, "our planet, the world from which we have come, was, so to speak, doomed."


"Oh yes. So what everyone thought was, let's pack the whole population into some giant spaceships and go and settle on another planet."

Having told this much of his story, he settled back with a satisfied grunt.

"You mean a less doomed one?" prompted Arthur.

"What did you say dear fellow?"

"A less doomed planet. You were going to settle on."

"Are going to settle on, yes. So it was decided to build three ships, you see, three Arks in Space, and ... I'm not boring you am I?"

"No, no," said Ford firmly, "it's fascinating."

Number Two's eyes darted feverishly about the room again and then settled back on the mirror, like a pair of flies briefly distracted from their favourite prey of months old meat.

"Yes, so anyway," he resumed, "the idea was that into the first ship, the 'A' ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and into the third, or 'C' ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things, and then into the `B' ship - that's us - would go everyone else, the middlemen you see."

He smiled happily at them.

"And we were sent off first," he concluded, and hummed a little bathing tune.

"And they made sure they sent you lot off first did they?" inquired Arthur.

"Oh yes," said the Captain, "well everyone said, very nicely I thought, that it was very important for morale to feel that they would be arriving on a planet where they could be sure of a good haircut and where the phones were clean."

"Oh yes," agreed Ford, "I can see that would be very important. And the other ships, er ... they followed on after you did they?"

For a moment the Captain did not answer. He twisted round in his bath and gazed backwards over the huge bulk of the ship towards the bright galactic centre. He squinted into the inconceivable distance.

"Ah. Well it's funny you should say that," he said and allowed himself a slight frown at Ford Prefect, "because curiously enough we haven't heard a peep out of them since we left five years ago ... but they must be behind us somewhere."

He peered off into the distance again.

Talk about a project to stimulate the economy.


amber ladeira said...

Dear Watcher, Maybe you saw my recent post which quotes physicist Stephen Hawking as strongly suggesting Earth must colonize outer space to save humanity. I wonder if Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) finally attacks the prefrontal cortex? If so, his idiotic pronouncement may be excused, but not the others before him who have taken up the identical lunacy. I attended a lecture decades ago given by "Dr." Gerald O'Neill, Futurologist. (What a LAME coined word,eh?)He had detailed drawings showing
how humanity could survive ecological or nuclear catastrophe
by orbiting the Earth AND the Moon.

Dammit, Gumby, let's save this place, we might as well: without
an evolution revolution improving
character and habit, we'll just
crap up the next space....Arrgghh!
(Note the word "drawings"; he should have termed his lecture
Sci-Fi Fantasy Follies.)

Hope everyone had a safe and pleasant holiday in the mean time.

Best, A.

amber ladeira said...

P.S.: I must be VERY slow today--
Had to check your column out once
again to realize what the acronym
stood for. I loved "Hitchiker's
Guide to..." and still have it, will read it again thanks to your timely reminder. (Now I WOULD be in favor of "exporting" various and sundry miscreants offworld; too bad it's so far into the future, despite predictions by Dr. Michio Kaku. Have you read Eduardo Galeano's Upside Down, a Primer for the Looking-Glass World? That guy packs more morbid yet grimly accurate truths per page than anyone I've read in a long time.)

Keep up the fine job of sticking a
pin in hypocrisy's balloon. -A.