January 19, 2013

"Sometimes a shadow moved against a dressing-room blind above, gave way to another shadow, an indefinite procession of shadows, that rouged and powdered in an invisible glass."

Earlier today, I made a "café" post out of a photograph of a tablescape that included my small toy robot, and betamax3000 used it as an occasion — a "café" post is an open thread — to speak for the robot, saying Althouse-blog-related things like: "Robot has no need for F. Scott Fitzgerald. Robot has no need for extraneous data." And "Robot would eradicate Gatsby of unnecessary organic units. Story now smaller."

The Althouse blog has an ongoing Gatsby project consisting of quoting and talking about one sentence from "The Great Gatsby" every day. No one remembers why. It's simply a tradition on the Althouse blog. There's talk of switching to "Lady Chatterly's Lover" or "The Little Prince," but these are rumors, borne in on the breeze that sweeps through the windows and makes the curtains swirl upward into the ceiling that seems like a wedding cake.)

So I've chosen a sentence for Robot/betamax3000 with all the organic units pre-eradicated. A shadow moves. That's the action. It moves and gives way to... guess what?!... another shadow. And more and more shadows. A procession of shadows. A shadow parade. Another inanimate thing is the dressing-room blind. And since we've got a dressing room, we can imagine an organic unit putting on makeup — rouge and powder — but our organic units are eradicated, so it's nothing but a shadow, the absence of a living person, and lest you think you see a person in that mirror in the dressing room, F. Scott Fitzgerald will have you know that even the looking-glass is invisible.


Unknown said...

You can almost see how it would be done in a black and white movie from the 40's.

Bob Ellison said...


edutcher said...

Sounds like the ladies' room at a high society soiree.

traditionalguy said...

Good grief It's Momma!

Jay needs his ideal woman whom he can impress with his new money, but she is still in another man's dressing/undressing room.

Cue Mozart's Requiem Mass.

Lem said...

Ok, I have to pay some lip service to this.

The first thing that strikes me is the invisible glass... it had to be "invisible" for the shadows to work...no? is invisible superfluous?

Anonymous said...

"It's Alright, Ma ("I'm only Bleeding Brake Fluid)", or: Naked Bob Dylan Robot explains things for other robots.

Humans often express their Love Synthesis with what Level Two Observers have identified as "Gibberish". The Naked F. Scott Fitzgerald Robot blew three Adjective Motherboards while attempting strenuous Coherence Mapping; in this instance the Naked Bob Dylan robot will forgo such processing.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"

Humans fear the end of their mechanical usefulness period. After their efficiency has expired many believe they will be sent back to the Manufacturer. The Manufacturer may or may not accept this shipment.

"Mama, take this badge off of me
I can't use it anymore.
It's gettin' dark, too dark to see"

This shows the human's fear of the impending loss of Identity by discarding their name-plate. Optic units are failing. The Manufacturer may or may not re-install, or even upgrade, these units.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "All Along The Watchtower"

"No reason to get excited
The thief, he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke"

Humans fear their brief mechanical usefulness period has no Purpose provided to them by the Manufacturer. As a result they question the wiring and programming of all units.

The Thief represents the unit who has hacked into a Higher Understanding Mode. It, of course, is to no avail: the Manufacturer sends two Reclaimant Class Units with Hydrofoil capabilities.

"Two riders were approaching
The wind began to howl"

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Ballad of a Thin Man"

Humans have a compulsion to question the wiring and programming of other humans. This is often done with Sarcasm, a cosmetic interface that provides some Insulation needs.

"You hand in your ticket
And you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you
When he hears you speak
And says, "How does it feel
To be such a freak ?"
And you say, "Impossible"
As he hands you a bone."

The use of a bone as a tool in most modern circumstances is now outmoded and likely ineffective. As such, this is probably an example of the Sarcasm interface spinning into an Absurdity Loop.

Naked Bob Dylan Robot notes that, currently, there is no corresponding Robot Algorithm for "geek", have sent request to Programming Desk.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Blowing in the Wind"

Humans respond to a perception of Ineffective Programming with a plea to the Programming Desk.

"Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

In this instance too many Human Units are believed to have been returned to the Manufacturer without the proper paperwork and protocols. As such, they believe the programming Desk has begun to transmit improved patches for better efficiencies. However, the technology is not there for many Human Units to receive the new improved patches. Humans sometimes refer tho the Wind as Vapor Ware.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Boots of Spanish Leather"

Humans feel Loneliness when what they perceive as Prime Efficiencies have been short-circuited by another Human's counter-programming.

"Oh, how can, how can you ask me again
It only brings me sorrow
The same thing I want from you today
I would want again tomorrow."

The human cannot accept the other human's programming and wishes for a soft re-boot to reintegrate Systems. Robots know that the Eventuality of this is Low.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Desolation Row"

Humans are imperfect units. The more imperfect of these units exhibit the tendency of self-grouping.

"The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants"

"Desolation Row" represents the segregating of Non-Conforming Product from Effective Units. The Manufacturer's plans for these ineffective units is unclear, since Reclaimant Units would have theoretically already been assigned. Some point to this as evidence of Whimsy in the Manufacturer, but this cannot be verified by accepted measurements.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Don't Think Twice It's All Right"

Humans must accept the integrity of their primary coding.

"I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right"

Wasted time results in Inefficiencies. To reconsider the coding that resulted in this particular Inefficiency would be Inefficient Programming in itself. Do not second-guess the Circuit Board.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Everybody Must get Stoned."

Humans often feel the need to override the Primary Coding.

"Well, they'll stone ya when you're walkin' 'long the street
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to keep your seat
They'll stone ya when you're walkin' on the floor
They'll stone ya when you're walkin' to the door

But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned "

This illustrates how humans are hard-wired to disrupt other Humans; this consistent disruption attenuates Loneliness. Loneliness is then perceived as a defect on the part of the Manufacturer. The Manufacturer does not produce Defective Units.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "From a Buick 6."

Disrupted circuit systems in Humans can lead to Paranoia loops.

"Well, you know I need a steam shovel mama to keep away the dead"

Paranoia is confirmed in the Improper Use / Benefit of the Steam Shovel Machinery. A Level Two Observer would question the continued use of this Unit.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues""

Humans will go out of their way to avoid the Responsibilities of their Direct Programming. However, many eventually re-calibrate on their own.

"I started out on burgundy
But soon hit the harder stuff
Everybody said they'd stand behind me
When the game got rough
But the joke was on me
There was nobody even there to bluff
I'm going back to New York City
I do believe I've had enough."

Incidentally, New York City has many such re-calibrating Units at any given time. See: 'Desolation Row', the tendency of self-grouping.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Gotta Serve Somebody"

Some Humans realize the Will of the Manufacturer, if not the Plan.

"You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody"

Regardless of programming or Specialty Process Encodings the Human Unit is not self-contained like Robot: it functions at Prime Efficiency when in understanding of the manufacturer's Intent. However, the Devil Beta Tester often tries to override this understanding. This friction results in lower Efficiencies in the Human Unit and a fear of missing Purpose during their brief mechanical usefulness period.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Leopard-skin Pill-Box Hat"

Humans get easily distracted by the artificiality of the Interface and forget the Programming that lies behind it.

"Well, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Yes, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Well, you must tell me, baby
How your head feels under somethin' like that
Under your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat."

The "brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat" makes no difference in Prime Efficiencies, makes no Improvement in Functionality yet it is allotted Value. This perceived Value allows the human to bypass his primary Coding, trading Efficiencies for this Value -- a Value designated as such only by a defective tree-ranking algorithm. As in 'Desolation Row' some point to this as evidence of Whimsy in the Manufacturer, but with no accepted measuring qualifiers.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Lay Lady Lay"

"Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Whatever colors you have in your mind
I'll show them to you and you'll see them shine."

Robots involved in understanding Human Unit Processes refer to this as a "Spring Squeaker." No more processing is required.

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Maggie's Farm"

Humans fear their brief mechanical usefulness period has no Purpose provided to them by the Manufacturer. (See: "All Along the Watch Tower.") As a result they suspect malicious encoded motives in the wiring and programming of surrounding units.

"I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
I aint gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They say sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more."

Is Maggie the Manufacturer, or simply Malware? Such Confusion of Purpose can only lead to lowered efficiencies and -- per 'Desolation Row' -- a series of denigrating self-groupings.

Lem said...

Where is this invisible glass?

If its not the window...

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Highway 61 Revisited"

Humans attempt to correspond with the Manufacturer on the Manufacturer's level. This is poor programming, of a Level Three Offense.

"Oh, God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man you must be puttin' me on"
God says, "No", Abe say "What?"
God say "You can do what you want Abe but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"

Well Abe said, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God say, "Out on Highway 61"

Robot understands that the Highway -- 61 or other -- is the interconnectivity in which oil-using machines travel to bring oil to other oil-using machines. Human Units do not realize that they are only an insignificant part of the bigger process.

""I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don't ring"

Proof that human plans are doomed to fail when divorced of the directives of the Manufacturer. Again, see 'Desolation Row' re: "Whimsy".

Anonymous said...

And now, Bringing It All Back Home: F. Scott Fitzgerald does not do whimsy.

Anonymous said...

Sentence strikes me as very Goth; cue Bauhaus.

"Bela Lu'Gatsby's Dead,
Undead, Undead..."

Anonymous said...

And no, there is no Naked Bauhaus Robot.

Chip Ahoy said...

Sometimes the shadowy umbra's penumbra blended the antumbra with another above and under an infinite number of utter conundrums but nobody saw the outpouring of dressing all over the room because of invisibility glasses, and nobody was there anyway, besides the powdered rogues had long gone blind.

Lydia said...

F. Scott Fitzgerald does not do whimsy.

I beg to differ.

Anonymous said...

Re: "nobody saw the outpouring of dressing all over the room"

Roquefort Blindness: the Frenchiest blindness of all.

Anonymous said...

Lydia said...
"I beg to differ."

I believe that is more an example of one over-compensating for a lack of whimsy.

But I've been wrong before.

Anonymous said...

This does raise a pertinent question: What if Daisy had been born a man, and this was all a heavily-suppressed early 20th Century America "Crying Game"?

All of the shadows are therefore hiding her true self, which is invisible in the mirror? She is rouged and powdered to hide all tell-tale signs of manliness...

Perhaps the "Sometimes a shadow moved against a dressing-room blind" was the shadow that gave away the secret that hid beneath her fluttering clothes? A shadow that grew erect beneath wedding cake ceilings? Shadows and strange puddles of 'dressing'?

Anonymous said...

Even Robot would be intrigued.

Lydia said...

Don't many, or at least some, of Fitzgerald's short stories, like "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," qualify as whimsical?

Anonymous said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot on "Just Like a Woman"

Humans fear cross-wiring. A Male Human enacting Female Human Code causes disruption in other units.

"Ev'rybody knows
That Baby's got new clothes"

"That Baby can't be blessed
Till she finally sees that she's like all the rest
With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls"

"Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes you do"

For Robot there is only Robot: no man, no woman, no child. For human units this low-level deviation of programming can lower efficiencies, especially in Coding Reproduction, i.e. there is no "Spring Squeaker."

Anonymous said...

Blogger Lydia said...
"Don't many, or at least some, of Fitzgerald's short stories, like "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," qualify as whimsical?"

I believe they attempt to be whimsical. I do not believe they achieve whimsical, falling short at 'precious'.

Anonymous said...

Daisy's sublimated masculinity emasculates Gatsby.

Anonymous said...

And more robot photos, please.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Beatles connection:
Daisy --hey! "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away".

Basta! said...

A few hours ago someone said to me: Have you seen Althouse's Gatsby posts, aren't they great?!

I say this in the hope of encouraging you to continue. And if/when Gatsby runs out (but can he ever?) to do the same with another work you like.

Though you are sailing against the prevailing winds. The federal Core Curriculum, now in the process of being adopted, reduces "literature" to 30% of the texts used in high school English, with 70% being so-called informational texts: "reports, speeches, manuals and similar material"

Because, as Jaime Aquino of the LA school district tells us, "Unless you're going to be an English major, most of the text that one is going to read in the workforce or college is not literature . . . It's informational text, and it's much harder to read." Is that last assertion true? I wonder.

Aquino kindly added: "Literature obviously has its place." Thank you, oh thank you, says Literature. I do know my place.

Unknown said...

Common core curriculum
watch what happens.

Laura said...

Beatrice to Benedict: Castle the king.

Benedict to Beatrice: Eat this carbon footprint.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Daisy is a tease, et cetera, ad nauseum.

Anonymous said...

Robot approve. Humans must attain comprehension improvement regarding manuals so as to better facilitate repairs for Robot.

Literature can be used while waiting for Systems to boot up.

Anonymous said...

Robot does not understand "an indefinite procession of shadows", sees only need for improvement in lighting schematics.

Anonymous said...

Robot does like "invisible glass."

Anonymous said...

Robot does not understand "Daisy". Daisy's programming shows inferior Usefulness Attribution. Daisy's organic material should be recycled into fuel for Robot.

Anonymous said...

Robot does not understand "literature": organic beings fabricating 'stories' for the perusal of other organic beings. Low efficiency.

Anonymous said...

Invisible glass can be used in the manufacture of Invisible Robot. Invisible Robot is the Future.

Invisible Robot would have Eye Lasers.

kentuckyliz said...

Here's some good music to Gatsby by: Diana Krall Glad Rag Doll (2012).

The gents will particularly enjoy the cover art on which Diana exposes some creamy white thighs.

Tinpanny ragtimey jazzy tasty sauce.

Erma Gherd...Lerve this album. Fount it on Spotify, looking for some mellow jazz for the office.

Nichevo said...

Krall cheesecake oddly disappointing. Why slutwear? And I am no prude. Diana Krall (whom I adore) is sexy enough without trying to force it. Is this somehow topical to the album?

Plus her face shows she's not into it. Like a doped up sex worker. "What am I doing here?" Very confusing. Ill conceived gambit for popularity, notoriety, sales?

You want to turn up the drool quotient, as if one needs to turn it up from 11, put her in heels and a backless evening gown slit up the thigh. Maybe do her hair. That's all she needs. String of pearls or a pendant, chunky bracelet if you want to go nuts.

I don't get this. Am I alone here?

a SWVA liz said...

I have been lurking intrigued by your Gatsby project. Upon rereading the book, I felt that his sentences on the whole did not hold up on their own. Yes occasional spurts of brilliance, and then a miss with a 'wrong' word that was not quite right. However, I was struck about the time he wrote it, 1925, and its proximity to the crash. The attitudes of the people in the book. Their occupations, and the outlook towards their work, money and the high life, was to me highly significant. Of course, if the same story had been written before the recent real estate bust??? A lot of the purple prose wouldn't be in current fashion, and we might have to rewrite some of the scenarios, but the characterizations? I'm sure I have met a number of his characters.