48 Following


The Annotated Alice : Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

The Annotated Alice: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, And, Through the Looking-Glass - Lewis Carroll, Martin Gardner, John Tenniel CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH REVIEW*(* entertainment purposes only) 1984 v. The Annotated AliceSetting: a wooded park on the outskirts of London, Airstrip One, Oceania.George Orwell (GO) is sitting on a blanket in the sun, wearing the drab gray jumpsuit of an Outer Party member. He rises to greet his companion, Lewis Carroll (LC), who is strolling across the grass to meet him. LC: (scanning the area suspiciously) Is it safe to meet here?GO: There aren’t many cameras out this way. We should be okay.LC: (nervous) This is a horrible, bleak place you’ve created. I think I’m going out of my mind, just trying to deal with it all. GO: I didn’t create it because I want things to be this way. It’s a cautionary tale.(looks at his watch) Your contact is late.LC: Look, I can’t promise you this is going to work. Wonderland is a very cerebral, abstract place. You may not find it to your liking.GO: Anything is better than staying here.The White Rabbit (WR) hops into the clearing, pocket watch in hand.WR: Sorry I’m late. I couldn’t duck out of a Two Minutes Hate rally without arousing suspicion. Let’s go. (motions towards a rabbit hole)All three descend down the rabbit hole, passing through a series of hippy-trippy psychedelic images before landing in front of the hookah-smoking caterpillar (HSC) perched on a giant mushroom. The instrumental portion of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” is playing very softly in the background.HSC: (looking curiously at Orwell) Who are you?GO: Whoever the Party wants- er, sorry. I am George Orwell.HSC: And what is your business here?GO: I’ve come to seek political asylum. I’m from the surface world.HSC: (between puffs) I’ve heard of the place… curious indeed, where 2 + 2=5, unless perchance it should equal six, or maybe on alternate Fridays it may equal 29, if one is so inclined.GO: Exactly so! You understand then why I cannot go on living there.HSC: (considers for a few seconds) Our world’s creator stands right next to you. If you have his permission, whose else’s do you need?LC: It’s true; I created Wonderland, but I’ve been dead for 113 years. I don’t have the influence I once did, especially with my work now in the public domain.HCS: (more consideration, and a few more puffs on the hookah) So you (motioning to Carroll) are dead, yet you speak. And you (motioning to Orwell) created a world, which you cannot live in. And I (motioning to himself) am alive, and living in a world I did not create. (pause)Curiouser and curiouser. (puff) I think we must be such different creatures, I am unequipped to understand you, let alone help you. Regardless, asylum is a political matter. You’ll need to speak with the Queen. (HSC points to a signpost labeled “To the Queen”)GO, LC and WR proceed in that direction, until they come to a clearing where the Queen of Hearts (QH) is playing croquet with Tweedledee, Tweedledum and the Mock Turtle. Tweedledee’s ball has just knocked the Queen of Heart’s ball out of the field of play.QH: (enraged) OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!Guards seize Tweedledee, and drag him away. Tweedledum goes running after them. QH: Now we’re two players down! Who’ll take their places? (looking at GO and LC) You two will do! Join us!Orwell and Carroll pick up mallets and join in play. It is GO’s turn, and he executes a difficult shot.QH: (impressed) You didn’t learn that in Wonderland.GO: I didn’t learn it at all. It was luck.QH: Well luck has to do with chance, and chance has to do with statistics, and statistics have to do with logic, so you must be a very logical man.GO: I’m glad you think so. I’m fleeing an illogical country, and I’d like to live in your kingdom.QH: We could use somebody here who knows about logic.WR: What are you talking about? Logic is all anybody here ever talks about!?(White Rabbit instantly realizes his disrespectful tone, and clasps his hand over his mouth)QH: (enraged) OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!Guards seize the White Rabbit, and drag him away.QH: (thinks for a second) You may stay here, but I’m not sure you’ll fit in. (inspecting him from head to toe) What are these odd clothes you’re wearing?GO: They’re the clothes of the Outer Party.QH: So if those are party clothes, you’d fit in over at the Mad Hatter’s ! (directing guards) TAKE THEM TO THE MAD HATTERS!!Guards grab Orwell and Carroll and bring them to the Mad Hatters, where a tea party is in progress. Alice (A), the Cheshire Cat, the Knave of Hearts, the Dormouse, and the March Hare are in attendance. The two authors are deposited in seats on either side of the Mad Hatter (MH).MH: Welcome, new friends! You have the Queen’s invitation to celebrate with us!LC: What are we celebrating?MH: Why the victory of The Annotated Alice over 1984 in this round of Celebrity Deathmatch Reviews, of course!A: What’s that? Have I been annotated?(everybody ignores her)GO: (to the Mad Hatter) I wish that were true, yours is a most deserving book, and Wonderland is a delightful place. MH: (perturbed) Then why shouldn’t it be true? The Annotated Alice should win! We’re a classic child’s fantasy, full of mindbending characters, charming wit, and enticing twists of logic.GO: I don’t deny these things; I’m a fan of Alice’s through and through!(Alice blushes)LC: (concerned) Then why, George, don’t you think I’ll win this round?Suddenly a deafening alarm begins to sound, and soldiers clad in Gestapo-like black uniforms take up positions all around the tea party, training their machine guns on The Mad Hatter and his friends.A loud, authoritative voice blares through hidden speakers:ATTENTION! WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE, AND WHAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING! DO NOT TRY TO ESCAPE OR RESIST US IN ANY WAY! STAND UP SLOWLY, PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEADS, AND STAND BACK TO BACK…GO: (with sad resignation, speaking to Carroll, as they slowly stand and raise their arms) Because 1984 is a heartbeat away from reality. As you can see, if you ignore Big Brother, he doesn’t go away; he spreads.The Cheshire Cat smiles and disappears, as the soldiers close in.MATCH POINT: 1984