From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes"
Subject: (urth) Unnecessary and Insufficient Unicorns Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2002 14:12:25 -0700 > If we are considering Charlie Turner as a "unicorn" then we might also > consider the ghost of the coldhouse prank as one, too. O, what a can of worms is opened here! If Charlie Turner is a unicorn, and if there never was a coldhouse prank, then maybe Sherry Gold's a phantom too, a middle-aged man's onanistic dream; and Louis Gold a harmless cheapener of curious and slightly obscene books; perhaps Olivia never lived at all, while Bobby Black did, to a ripe old age. In short, if we but once begin to claim that this or that is "just a unicorn," then what remains? A vapid, empty text, with "content" a wild goose to lead us on, the reader free to pick and choose at will what parts to keep and what to set aside as inconvenient to her favorite theory? Enough. This will not do. One unicorn, perhaps, we might accept, but (as it were) at sword's-point only; otherwise we must admit _the text's the text_, and if it's not consistent, self-coherent, then perhaps that's what the writer meant for it to be; a writer who had just one novel past embodied Heisenberg's uncertainty might well decide to dramatize Godel; if PEACE is incoherent, incomplete, and ultimately undecideable, perhaps that's just the point. Then to delete an inconvenient detail, character, or even an entire anecdote, because it tidies up chronology and makes our theories neat is simply wrong. Roy Lackey brought some evidence to bear that makes the Turner-unicorn at least supportable (though I am not convinced this means it's necessary to accept). This isn't true, now, for the cold-house prank; you've shown it simplifies the timeline, true, but "simple"'s never been the adjective I'd use for Lupine texts. So what's the point? The text's the text, the book's the book, I say, and all our theories merely serve to light our dusty way to comprehending it. Explain the text, but don't explain away what doesn't seem to fit; don't change the facts, as third-year physics majors often do. And now that I've offended everyone, I'll shut my mandibles and go to sleep. --Blattid --