Joy and Sean’s bricolage Victorian Wire piece has netted us many new readers,most of whom probably have not yet realized that this blog is usually less about Omar and clever homage/parody and more about comics and post-structuralism and flame wars.

But! I am hoping to fool them at least a little longer, so I thought I’d reprint this piece which ran in Poor Mojo’s Almanac a little while back. It reimagines famous people in different eras/situations. It’s not about the Wire, but it’s what I’ve got.


What Were They Like Before They Were Famous?

1. Franz Josef

For the science fair, Franz Josef Haydn constructed a working castrato. No one expected it because the school was underfunded. So he had to use an abacus instead of a Bunsen burner, plus it was made out of rusty glass condom wrappers. But he tried hard and learned important lessons broadcast on television like “don’t be poor” and the Western cultural tradition. His teacher, Ms. Friedrich Nietzsche, gave him stickers with assertive slogans. She had a cave to go into for the Jedi Mind Trick, but when she came out she was just Aquaman, which doesn’t usually help.

Haydn didn’t understand what he had done wrong. “Doesn’t anybody like beautiful music?” He kept shouting that. The judges were stupid movie stars and people like that. First prize would go to growing bean sprouts like always. And all he wanted was to be able to look at his college pictures sometimes without being sad forever.

I think the problem is that there is too much creativity in the world. It means rich people can feel good about themselves too easily. Also everybody talks and nobody shoots them. If we really want to stop floods and starvation, a better way would be a lot of robots doing math in the dark. Without Oprah.

2. Christina

So it was in the car and we said who has the best memories? So the Little Mermaid was in the Holocaust and learned important lessons about personal growth, and Buffy had a sad marriage to Raymond Carver but with moments of real quirkiness. And everyone else was Asian. But Christina Aguilera kept saying, gee I don’t have any memories, isn’t that funny? They told her to make some up but she wasn’t inventive in that way, so they felt bad for her but wouldn’t talk to her anyway.

She tried to tell people about a dream where she met herself and was different. Buffy said, “Oh, right, you must be a creative writing major.” I guess that’s a memory, Christina thought. I’ll just listen to this song for the rest of my life.

Luckily there’s happiness and you’re more famous than some people. If you have cheerful slogans and make others say them then they will be depressed and you win. Even if that doesn’t work, someday high school will just be a place you read porn about.

3. Duke

It is underwater and the guidance counselors are puffy and fat like some kinds of fish. Duke Ellington is sort of a savior so he comes through security and down, down, down. It is pretty because it is green and no one has any clothes or penises.

The littlest teachers have lights in their tails. You are never more than fifteen feet from one and you accidentally eat them while you sleep. That happens to Duke Ellington too, which is why he ended up so creative just like most people. If you shut your eyes you can see their skulls because they glow and bob where the water is dark. That is all the teachers people swallowed making that possible and I think we should thank them for it.

Duke Ellington’s cell phone rings. It is Hollywood and they want him to be in a movie where he will listen to music and then be inspired to listen to better music. “When I do as they wish, even the eels sing of love.” He would cry a single tear but nobody would notice underwater. There are a lot of beautiful things and terrifying things where you can’t see them here, but if you really study them closely they become boring.

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