Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Strange and Sometimes Wonderful World

In the wonderful news department, in my searching of web content related to the previously mentioned contest finalists, I ran across, "Creative Writing for Extraterrestrials." At the University of Wyoming, it seems, there's a class in which students ponder different ways of introducing humanity to extraterrestrials. It's called Interstellar Message Composition. The cosmically inclined Professor, a man named Lockwood, drives his students to come up with new ways of expressing what it means to be human. One student sculpted an alien cellphone. Another, a four word poem about birth. Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, Barry Hannah Contest finalist, summed up the experience saying, "Birth came up a lot, death came up a lot. We found out what's left when you take away all the minor stuff."

Bart Parodies NirvanaIn other strange, but perhaps less wonderful news, an Australian judge has ruled that possession of an illicit Simpsons illustration--in which some creative ne'er-do-well has depicted Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, knowing each other in the biblical sense--is equivalent to possession of child pornography. The article quotes the Judge as saying, "If the persons were real, such depictions could never be permitted. Their creation would constitute crimes at the very highest end of the criminal calendar." He goes on to say that "the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people."

So, erm, does this mean that Homer Simpson has the right to vote in Australia?

If you're thinking that sounds rather silly and makes the kind of sense that doesn't, then you'll probably agree with Neil Gaiman, who said, "The ability to distinguish between fiction and reality is, I think, an important indicator of sanity, perhaps the most important. And it looks like the Australian legal system has failed on that score."

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