Wednesday, July 01, 2009

If Copyright Laws Didn't Exist

1. Anyone could write anything about Holden Caulfield that they wanted to. Just like Alexandra Ripley's rather terrible sequel to Gone with the Wind, called Scarlett, in which Scarlett changes her name to Katie Scarlett and moves to Ireland for a while. And Lin Haire-Sargeant's companion to Wuthering Heights, entitled H.: The Story of Heathcliff's Journey Back to Wuthering Heights, all I can remember of which is that somehow Cathy II couldn't have been the daughter of Cathy I's husband, which means Heathcliff made his son by Cathy I's husband's sister marry his daughter by Cathy. Fortunately the son was sickly and died, but still. If that ain't consanguinity, I don't know what is. Point is: since when can you not use another person's characters, plot, style, etc., etc., in the cause of art? I bite my thumb at you, United States District Court of Manhattan. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here.)

2. I would start a blog in which I would post one paragraph of Beatrix Potter's journal per day. Her paragraphs are conveniently self-contained, and generally entertaining, whether or not intentionally. I herewith provide you a sample:

- A boy being asked the degrees of comparison of "ill" said, "Ill, worse, dead."

- In the Christian Life last week was the following from tombstones: "In memory of . . . who died in Philadelphia. Had he lived he would have been buried here" and "Here lies . . . who was accidentally shot by his brother as a mark of respect."

- According to a local tradition Hawkshead Church would fall down as fast as it was built. The monks prayed for a vision where to build it. One had a vision to build it where the water ran both ways, and they chose Hawkshead. Priests Pot is so called because three priests drowned in it.

- The Duke of Wellington [a large statue which was moved from the top of an arch at Hyde Park Corner to a town called Aldershot in 1885] is nearly on the ground and looks surprisingly big. They say no less than twenty people lived in the arch, including six policemen, one medical student, and several families. There was an amusing article in one of the daily papers about the people who have sometimes lived in celebrated places. At one time upwards of three-hundred people lived and kept cows and poultry on the roof of a Royal Palace in Moscow, unknown to the authorities.

- A country parson came to London for his Christmas holidays. The choir wrote to him about two things. What anthem they should have on Christmas Day, and the dimensions of a floral cross. The parson telegraphed back - "Unto us a child is born, two feet wide and four feet long."

- Weather turned colder. Mr. Fawcett's death [England's Postmaster General]. Exceedingly cheerful boistrous man in spite of his blindness. Did not appear at all depressed by the absolute failure of the parcel post.

It's one weird story after another. I love it.

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