Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Page 89: WikiBard

This scene in The Billionth Monkey was an exercise in how many Shakespeare or Star Wars puns I could cram into one passage. Here goes:

Wikibard: There’s really no such thing as Wikibard. At least there wasn’t when I wrote the book, so I made one. There are minor spoilers at this Website, so the eBook version doesn’t include a clickable link to Wikibard until page 128. So I’ll wait until that part of the walkthrough to tackle all the jokes there.
An unused red variant of the Wikibard logo header.
“greatest poet and playwright of the English language”: As Aleister Crowley’s biographer, I couldn’t resist sneaking in a few sly references to AC. When in his Confessions Crowley gives his birthplace as Leamington Spa, he includes the cheeky footnote “It has been remarked a strange coincidence that one small county should have given England her two greatest poets—for one must not forget Shakespeare (1550–1610).” Crowley actually held the Bard in great esteem, writing to his son that in order two properly understand Western culture and literature, one must be familiar with the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.
Aleister Crowley in his poet phase with a floppy bow-tie, ca 1905.
(Actually, he remained a poet throughout his lifetime.)
Dame Frances Beye-Cohn: Here I’m alluding to the conspiracy theory known as the Baconian theory of Shakespeare authorship. According to Wikibard, “Those who subscribe to the theory that Sir Francis Bacon wrote the Shakespeare work generally refer to themselves as ‘Baconians,’ while dubbing those who maintain the orthodox view that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote them ‘Sheeple.’” According to the Baconian theory, Shakespeare actually died in a car crash outside Albert Hall. The publishing industrial complex sought to protect its profits by having Francis Bacon fill in, writing plays in Shakespeare’s name. Those who knew the truth, however, hid clues to what was going on. Thus the First Folio’s engraving of Shakespeare depicts the bard bare-footed. As You Like It is obviously an anagram of “Alike ’tis you.” And let’s not forget the blatant lyrics to his sonnet “Number 9”:
Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye
That thou consumest thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife;
If this isn’t Bacon writing about Shakespeare being dead, then I don’t know what it’s about.

Come in person hither, nay, and thou art: Plain silliness as “telltale use”

Tempest: Refers to Shakespeare’s play of the same name.

King Hamlet: A common question about Hamlet is “What is the name of the dead king?” Although the answer turns out to be “Hamlet,” the confusion seemed like a great foundation on which to build a joke.

“indentured servant who gained his freedom by winning a chariot race. After entering a religious order…”: All a reference to Star Wars Episode I, and a little bit of Episode II.

“An indentured servant who gained his freedom by winning a chariot race.”
Stilted language: This is a complaint often levied against the Star Wars prequels, overlooking the stilted language of the original trilogy.

Offensive stereotypes: The Phantom Menace has been accused of basing various aliens on offensive ethnic stereotypes about Japanese (the Trade Federation), African-Americans (Jar Jar Binks), and Italians (Watto).

Is the most-hated character in the Star Wars universe based on an offensive stereotype?
Or do you hate Jar Jar Binks just because?
Ian McDiarmid: The Scottish actor is renowned in British theatre for his roles in Shakespearean dramas such as Hamlet (1972), The Tempest (1974), Much Ado about Nothing (1976), Macbeth 1976), etc. He is however perhaps best known worldwide for portraying Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars prequels.

“One may write this shite, but one cannot say it.”: A reference to Harrison Ford’s famous quip to George Lucas during the filming of Episode IV: “George, you can write this shit, but you can’t say it.”

“younger scholars say this is every bit as good as the original Hamlet”: Children don’t seem to have a problem with the more recent Star Wars movies. It’s only the people who saw Star Wars as children and then grew up who complain about the prequels.

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