For such is the bitter fruit of my labors: Of that portion of the brain which governs calculation, the arrangement of facts, and the deployment of language and logic, Mr. C— has retained a full share. Of the portion which governs social intercourse, feeling, and affability, he is now entirely bereft. For Mr. B—, the situation is the reverse.
The sole portion which is now common to both, yet apparently undiminished by being divided between them, is that which governs the pursuit of self-interest.
When I reflect that it is I who have loosed these creatures upon an unsuspecting world, I curse the day when the light of Science, like a will o' the wisp, first tempted me into its fatal realm!
February 12, 1995
With the passage of time, I have come to see that the fears which tormented me were distended beyond their true proportion, like shadows cast by firelight. Though the creatures I reanimated still appear monstrous to me, they do not appear so to others. Indeed, their very defects seem to ensure their success.
In Texas, the people are only too eager to embrace a politician who mangles language, ravages logic, and is innocent of all knowledge of the world. Mr. C—, for his part, has acquired an uncanny capacity to hint at obscure dangers, which can be avoided only by nestling in the lee of his calm and unsmiling bulk. If, as I have been told, his Uncle Lon inspired terror as "The Man of a Thousand Faces," Mr. C— has outstripped him a thousandfold by becoming "The Man of One Face"—or, indeed, of none.
Yet foremost among the circumstances, which have softened my self-reproaches, is one which, in the cool light of retrospection, seems to me to have been anticipated by Mr. C— himself. It is, that the portion of Mr. C—'s brain still lodged in his cranium continues to communicate, by some mysterious, etheric means, with the portion now housed in the corresponding part of the anatomy of his friend. While this leaves the Governor supine before the commands of Mr. C—, it confers benefit upon him as well; for it protects him from being utterly discomfited when he meets an opponent in debate, or is questioned by members of the Press.
October 6, 2000
A ticket made in Heaven!—or, I might rather aver, in the Hell of my laboratory. For the electorate seems to grasp, on some darkling level, that these two creatures are in fact the severed halves of a single being. The prospect of seeing them united in the White House appears to hold a strange allure, like the joining of male and female half-souls described by the poet Aristophanes in the Symposium of Plato.
May Heaven smile upon their union!
September 23, 2001
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.