Abandoned Ideas

Once I had the foolish idea that starting a blog would lead to something. Unfortunately this idea came a decade after the Blog Bubble had burst and there was no chance of making anything of it other than a place where He and I make public in-jokes to one another. Going by my own stat page, He doesn’t read the parts of the joke I post. He doesn’t even know how to backlink properly. He always links the homepage of my website, never the specific blog. This means that, on the few times somebody does click the link, they land on the front page, see the blurbs of so many disparate articles on topics ranging from fawning over banana bread to paintings to German history to B-movies on the Horror Channel to the call for the mass exhumation of pollution in cemeteries to another post about banana bread that it scares them off. I should take lessons from this, to perhaps specialise on one or at most two topics. But I won’t do that. Whatever I possess in self-doubt, I match in pure delusion: my words are important, my opinion is always relevant and I should comment on everything that ever is or was.

As a result of this, there is on my laptop a folder called Blog Ideas. This is a meta commentary, as to write this, I added another entry called Abandoned Ideas and that title is now appearing on your browser of choice. (I am also going to hyperlink the title back to its own page, creating a circular loop that might destroy the world.) The number of ideas is currently at sixty, of which about a half or there about are written out and posted. I think of the finished articles that haven’t been posted there are two or three. One is about the use of VAR in football, which I did post at one point only to remove because there were so many incidents that my references were becoming outdated by the minute. Removing it to update it was a mistake as when I went to re-upload it I realised that it would look like I was chasing a hashtag. I don’t do that, which is why almost all of my content relates to nonsense nobody but myself cares about. The others are half-finished, either because I stopped writing half-way through and then when I returned to it I couldn’t remember the point of it; or because during writing it I convinced myself that the idea was stupid and stopped. 

When it comes to the other thirty, they are largely nothing more than the Ghost of What Would Have Been. A lot of these were simply the case of me finding the title better than the idea and leaving it there or deeming the idea to big to attempt to wing it. These were to have better research, more thought, more time. But when it became apparent that I was getting substantially less views than I wished, I decided that these would be left for another time or some other form of media where I didn’t have a live count of just how unpopular I was that I could refresh a hundred times a day instead of doing something productive.

I present a selection of these titles for your viewing pleasure. Perhaps one day I will make something of them. Or maybe you will get an idea and I can at a later date sue you for plagiarism and take you for everything you are worth. They are as follows:

1. A Homolinguistic Translation of Coleridge: This, as I try to recall, was one of the very few writing prompts that I read out aloud to my ex. It stuck with me because I was certain that ‘homolinguistic’ wasn’t a word. (My spellchecker backs up this thought as there is a red line under the word.) The prompt said to take a poem or other short form of prose that you liked and substitute the words with new words that kept the same themes as the original. I abandoned it before beginning as I am not a poet and have no understanding of rhythm. Going for Coleridge was also too big a task. Wordsworth I could manage, because he’s awful; but going for Coleridge was like picking up boxing gloves and two minutes later getting into the ring with Tyson Fury. Start small, go for the Joshuatron before taking on the big boys.

2. Who is Palmer Olnis?: I have no idea what the intention was. I only include it because the title confuses me. I don’t think that’s a name I came up with. It sounds fake enough for a name I would fabricate but I almost never add in surnames to my creations. A fake first name is easy to mask: at the very least you can claim it’s a nickname to wave away the stupidity. I used to know someone who went by ‘Badger’; it was three years before I found out her proper name. I might have taken the name from someone else. More than likely, if it was anything, it would have been five hundred to a thousand words of rambling before settling on the conclusion of ‘I don’t know’. That’s the type of thing I do.

3. Crusader Kings II Broke my Spirit: This I do know. I had started a game as Anglo-Saxon Wessex in The Old Gods era, picking Alfred of Wessex (King Alfred the Great) and working my way up from the Count of Dorset to the Emperor of Britannia with a realm that encompassed all of Britain and Ireland, Norway and Sweden, Spain, North Africa and the Levant. I had just popped the achievement Protector of the Holy Places for bringing Rome, Jerusalem, Medina and Mecca under my control. Shortly after this my emperor died and his infant son inherited, placing the Empire into a regency. For those unfamiliar with the game, this is terrible and takes large chunks of your control away until your character reaches his (or her) majority. During this regency period, my regent switched the succession rules from agnatic (male-only, to avoid succession crises) to agnatic-cognatic, bringing women into the line of succession. As my regent was my eldest sister, this had all the makings of a conflict of interest. She then had my infant emperor (her brother, need I remind you) assassinated. Due to some contrivance in the game, it was not her that inherited but her son. As her son was not a member of my dynasty, this constituted a game over. Thus, six hundred years of glorious rule (and more hours than I care to admit of gameplay) were lost. I uninstalled the game shortly after and have not played it since. Why I abandoned it? It was around the time Paradox was planning to release the Deus Vult expansion and some media outlets with no understanding of history were citing it as their endorsement of right-wing policies. I didn’t want to get involved. Games Journalism is general is something best left avoided.

4. A Review of the Imitation Game: The Imitation Game is the worst film I have ever seen. I truly despise it. I despise the historical inaccuracies, I despise the performances, and I despise all involved, most particularly Benedict Cumberbatch and Matthew Goode–and most of all the screenwriter Graham Moore, who responded to the criticism of inaccuracies by pointing at a Monet painting and shouting ‘that’s not what water lilies look like!’–for their smugness in the promotional interviews in which they say it’s okay to be as inaccurate as possible because the film honours a great man. Personally, I find the best way to honour a great man is to tell his story as accurately as possible and not by portraying him as some autistic savant who engaged in espionage and treason as some way of building tension. But the film won Oscars and BAFTAs and I’m sitting here writing the equivalent of a public diary— so what do I know? Abandoned for being too ranty. I find the ranting justified but it would have probably put me on a watchlist. Instead, I reference my disdain for it here and here, as asides to other tales.

5. Donald Trump, Mass Hysteria and the Death of Satire: I am sure I would have made this funny. But then He posted an article or sent me a message in which he mentioned Donald Trump and the idea lost its allure. In all likelihood, I think it wouldn’t have worked. Not because I don’t have the intellectual capacity to make astute, philosophical, witty comments about Donald Trump and how Twitter has a collective panic attack anytime he gurns at a camera. It wouldn’t have worked because the zeitgeist has decided that Trump is the devil incarnate—or, if you’re on his side, the God-Emperor we need and deserve—and no commentary, even satirical, can speak about him in any other terms than those two distinct lines. In the end it wasn’t worth the hassle. The Death of Satire aspect was going to be a witty pun on the Death of Stalin, the Ianucci film that had just come out. It was going to savage him just as much as anything else. Because his commentary that made In the Loop and The Thick of It so good has been completely lost since he took the American dollar. VEEP is garbage, as was everything past the second act in Death of Stalin. To his credit, he, somewhat at least, acknowledged the flaws of the latter when he said he wanted to make it a comedy but still remind people of just how awful the people he was portraying were. But that’s not what satire is Armando, and you more than anybody else should know that. 

I will leave it there. There are others. Many, may others. I doubt I will ever finish them. Or start them. Like Kafka, my name will go down in the Western Canon for ideas that I had but never finished just as much as it will for ideas I did finish. But unlike Kafka, I won’t go down in literary folklore as a big baby.

But by gum, I really, really hate The Imitation Game.

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