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NaNoWriMo Block? Try the “Eugene Onegin Effect” of Conspiracy Theories!

November 7, 2011

Morgan Freeman Barack Obama

  • – Just after midnight on 9/11/11 (or 11/9/11) – this Wednesday – asteroid YU55 will pass close to earth inside the moon’s orbit – the closest approach ever for a body of this size.
  • – Shortly after on 11/9/11, the USA will conduct its first ever nationwide test of its “Emergency Alert System”, in which the US government will take control of all US television and radio media. It’s unknown how this will affect the internet.
  • – At the same time on 11/9/11, the UK will conduct emergency test drills at major nuclear power stations up and down the country.
  • – The same day, and into Thursday, the UN will conduct “Exercise Pacific Wave 11” – a pacific tsunami warning and communications exercise.
  • – The same day, a major new UN report by the International Atomic Energy Authority is expected to report on new developments in Iran’s attempts to manufacture nukes. Moscow has requested the report be “delayed at this time of tension”.
  • – Morgan Freeman is revealed to be the same person as Barack Obama.

The above are all actual news events from this coming week. OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the picture… 😉

As anyone who knows me will attest, I’m a great fan of geopolitics and conspiracy theories, so much so that I’m often accused of blurring the lines between the two. I happen to believe that reality actually is a blurred mishmash of geopolitics and conspiracy theory. Regardless, it’s a cool way of thinking if you’re looking to generate plots.

When I first read Pushkin’s verse novel “Eugene Onegin”, I was utterly bowled over by how Pushkin had succeeded in creating a linear assembly of overtly unrelated short poems, only to use stanza structure and metre to encourage the reader to see those separate poems as belonging together. From there, Pushkin’s job was done: the reader himself would then go to great lengths to perceive those individual stanzas as belonging to a common plot – the reader would “write the novel” himself, as he read the poems. Awesome!

I still find that approach everywhere in life today – the desire to create patterns out of seemingly unrelated material is perhaps a defining human quality. That’s why I love geopolitics and conspiracy theories so much: sometimes events in the world actually *are* related – they don’t just seem so. And trying to piece together all these events is where the great fun of creating a coherent narrative lies.

This week’s post is partly just a bit of fun for my fellow tinfoil hat-wearing comrades. I’ve been doing my usual surfing of the less respectable news sites on the internet this week, as they’re great arenas for amazing concatenations of seemingly unrelated events into what look like great, globe-spanning conspiracies. And I picked out the above discrete, apparently unrelated events. Maybe Pushkin would approve – if the Father of Russian Verse were a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist with a penchant for melodrama. (Hey, two out of three ain’t bad…)

So… 11/9/11… I’ve written my blockbuster novel from this week’s events. Have you? 😛

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