Mother Mutton's Golden Books

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Mother Mutton was the first to explain why every attempt to do alphabetical sorting in Ghyll, especially by those highly learned in the crafts of language, goes entirely awry. Subverting the common theory of the time that scholars are merely incompetent, she proved that the very fabric of Ghyll itself is to blame. The proof has proven highly popular with Ghyll's scholars, and was quickly augmented to cover almost all other forms of scholarly pursuit, from history to cartography.

The uneducated public were extraordinarily slow to catch on to this idea, so Mother Mutton published her seminal Golden Book of Linear and Dynamic Historical Projection Techniques and Coloring Fun tome to attempt to reinstall the public belief in their scholars. It became an immediate bestseller, as the same uneducated public realized the ego-potential of idly (and "disinterestingly", of course, as if this were old hat), thumbing a copy in a crowded tea shop. Mother Mutton went on to publish a few other Golden Books (such as the "Golden Book of Orthogonalities, Neither Orthogonal Nor Nervous, But Always Coloring Fun"), all of which became bestsellers. Whether anyone actually understood the concepts within or merely used them to enhance perceptions most assuredly leans toward "I liked the pictures, I did. The text? Not so much."

The text of a Mother Mutton Golden Book are simple sentences, usually one or two per page, accompanied by an illustration that attempts to explain them. Here's one such passage from Mother Mutton's Golden Book of Linear and Dynamic Historical Projection Techniques and Coloring Fun which attempts to explain consensus reality:

  1. Imagine yourself staring at the inside wall of a cave.
  2. Imagine a fire behind you, burning brightly.
  3. Imagine, between you and the fire, a performance.
  4. A performance of paired puppeteers! Skilled paired puppeteers! The illustration accompanying this image is the sitting reader, facing the cave wall, but with his head turned in joy at the puppeteers behind him.
  5. But, you don't know they're there. Forget them! The reader's head is turned back to the wall, sad.
  6. You can feel the fire's warmth on your carapace.
  7. Its flames are casting shadows on the wall.
  8. The shadows of the puppets! Performing puppet shadows!
  9. But, remember, you've forgotten the puppets are there.
  10. Don't turn your head! You can't turn your head!
  11. What do you see in the shadows being cast on the wall?
  12. Look! A pokey little puppy!
  13. Look! Ping, the mighty duckling!
  14. Look! A besq boat sailing the shifty seas!
  15. But, is it really a puppy? A duckling? A shifty sea?
    Or merely your perceptions? In the previous three illustrations, we were only shown the shadows being cast on the wall. For this page, we see what the puppeteers were really doing, none of which had to do with puppies, ducklings, or boats and shifty seas.
  16. If you told others of your perception, would they believe you? This illustration shows three additional people sitting in the cave, staring at the same shadow as the reader. The shadow appears to be a boat on a shifty sea, and speech balloons for the four individuals are "Why, it's a boat! On a shifty sea!", "A boat?", "Yes! I see it too!", "Of course!" respectively.
  17. If they did, does that make your perception real? Truth?
  18. Yes! The more people who believe, the truther it gets! The last two illustrations show the shadow becoming more well-defined, until there can be no doubt: it is a boat on a shifty sea.
  19. But, what of the original puppet? The puppeteers, having done their best rendition of a vorpcara-wielding hero slaying a gigantic Pyxie-serpent with legs, are shambling out of the cave dejectedly. They may never puppeteer again.

Citations: Cartographer's Nerves, Old hat, Orthogonality.

--Morbus Iff 12:03, 8 Apr 2005 (EDT)

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