Links for a Golden Afternoon

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

150 years ago today, a brilliant but painfully shy Oxford University mathematician and Anglican deacon named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson took the three daughters of his dean on one of many rowing excursions on the Thames; as was his custom he told them an ex tempore “fairy tale”, but on this particular occasion the second-oldest asked him to write the story down for her afterward.  The girl’s name was Alice Liddell; the teacher wrote his non-academic publications under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, and the story became the one we know as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Yesterday I published a column about it, including a critical examination of the popular myth that Carroll was a pedophile; The Independent also commemorated the occasion with an article, and if it’s been a while since you read them you may enjoy these PDF copies of Alice in WonderlandThrough the Looking-Glass and “The Hunting of the Snark”.

Here are a few more links in a Carrollian vein:

  • Just in time for the anniversary, scientists announce proof of the Higgs boson, whose field has been characterized as “cosmic treacle”.
  • Carroll very much enjoyed word games; if you do as well, why not try your hand at writing a short story in only six words?
  • Modern masters of nonsense are usually far less benign than the gentle Carroll; one of these is out-of-control lawyer Charles Carreon, about whom my fellow guest-blogger Ken from Popehat has told us so much lately; this is a page which generates faux quotes in Carreon’s often-bizarre style.  But Carreon can’t hold a candle to L. Ron Hubbard; this Scientology “assessment” juxtaposes mundane (if nosy) inquiries such as “Have you ever been a coward?” and “Have you ever been a professional prostitute?” with such bizarre queries as “Have you ever stolen a body from another being?”, “Have you ever obliterated a language?” and “Have you ever despoiled a planet of its natural resources?”


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12 Responses to “Links for a Golden Afternoon”

  1. #1 |  Bill Poser | 

    An additional fact perhaps of interest: Alice Liddell’s father Henry was the co-author, with Robert Scott, of the monumental Greek-English Lexicon, the standard reference for Ancient Greek. In addition to the full version, there are two smaller versions more commonly used by students. The three are known colloquially as the “Big Liddell”, “Middle Liddell”, and “Little Liddell”, with “Liddell” pronounced like “Middle”.

  2. #2 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I have long felt that the modern tendency to assert that we “know” that this or that historical figure was Gay, or a pedophile, or had an affaire with his sister (when it wasn’t known at the time), is based on the Baby Boom’s assumption that everybody is as horny and incapable of self control as they are. Any man who preferred the company of other men has to have been Gay; it can’t possibly be that he liked talking “shop”, drinking, and smoking and was married to a woman picked out for him by his father. Any man who worked with young boys HAS to have been a pedophile-predator; it simply isn’t possible that he enjoyed molding young minds and/or had the self control to keep his hands to himself.

    It doesn’t help that the vast majority of Boomers have the the sense of history one normally associates with a chunk of sandstone.

  3. #3 |  John Jenkins | 

    L. Ron Hubbard is the original troll. The problem is that people actually believed his shit, which also makes him the greatest troll.

  4. #4 |  DoubleU | 

    Short story in six words… I don’t want to give my address to them, but I could submit a story.

  5. #5 |  En Passant | 

    “Have you ever stolen a body from another being?”, “Have you ever obliterated a language?” and “Have you ever despoiled a planet of its natural resources?”

    Only occasionally, on an exceptionally slow day.

  6. #6 |  Paul | 

    Dark, Dark, Night. Body. Cops Innocent?

  7. #7 |  BamBam | 

    Nikola Tesla Day is on July 10
    http://www.teslasociety.com/tesladay.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_tesla
    http://www.badassoftheweek.com/tesla.html

    and awesome TheOatmeal.com comic/ode to Tesla
    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

    Celebrate a person who did more good for humanity than most people combined will ever achieve.

  8. #8 |  BamBam | 

    To L. Ron Hubbard: I have obliterated many toilets.

  9. #9 |  Ted S. | 

    I had sex with Raquel Welch.

  10. #10 |  Belle Waring | 

    Ted: too “Larry Stu”. Try “he.”

  11. #11 |  markm | 

    As I understand it, Scientologists conduct these interviews with the subject hooked up to a primitive lie detector. Perhaps those outrageous questions are for calibration.

  12. #12 |  b | 

    The elevator cable broke. Melinda pined.

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