Friday, August 25, 2006

Urania not a muse (Queen Victoria wasn't either)

Athens. August 25th 2006

In a landmark decision, here today, the Annual Special Symposium of Hellenic, Occidental, Latin and otherwise Erudite Scholars (ASSHOLES) determined that Urania would no longer be considered one of the nine muses. This august body, which comprises a distinguished group of senile men who were forced to learn this stuff at school, made the decision to oust Urania from the list of muses official last night, with a 5-1 vote over a bottle of extremely potent ouzo at a local bar. The decision comes after weeks of bitter debate among obscure professors of myth, coupled with frenzied attempts by supporters to pronounce Terpsichore correctly.

Acknowledging the gravity of the decision, ASSHOLES chair Stepan Galluppoullis said, "We've felt for a long time that Urania just wasn't pulling her weight. We're sorry to see her go, of course, but times are tough and even mythical figures have to tighten their diamond encrusted girdles." Defending the body's decision, Mr. Galluppoullis pointed to the recent adoption of a rigid set of rules to determine what would and would not constitute a planet. "The way we thought about it, if the future of astronomy was going to be all anal regulations, then why did it need a muse of it's own? Muses are about inspiration and creativity, after all, not about bureacratic nit-picking. If you can analyse and define it, it no longer needs a muse."

When it was pointed out to him that Urania was also the muse of Universal Love, Mr. Galluppoullis simply shrugged his shoulders and said "What's that?".

According to the new charter adopted by ASSHOLES, a muse must meet three criteria in order to be considered part of the official pantheon: a) She must have been invoked at least five separate times by Homer (the greek poet, not Simpson) b) She must have a name that 90% of the human population cannot pronounce correctly c) She must not be chained by reason or dull rhymes. Urania, unfortunately, fails on all these counts, and is therefore being ousted.

All is not lost for Urania fans, however. Scholars are now debating the creation of a new category of nostalgic muses - muses that may be invoked by those who want to look back fondly on earlier, simpler times. Mythologists agree that Urania will almost certainly be the prototype for this new category, though a vote to name this category 'Uranic' was narrowly defeated after one of the participants poured too much relish on his couscous.

At the same time, Hollywood is said to be preparing to come to Urania's defense. A new TV series is reportedly planned, featuring Urania as skimpily clad muse who goes around kicking inter-planetary ass. Producers say the series will help explore the more 'babelicious' side of Urania, an aspect that remains largely unexplored in the classic texts. The series will apparently star Lucy Lawless and will run right after 'Xena: The Warrior Planet'.

Critics of the decision have described it as 'lame', 'stodgy' and 'slightly overdone with a hint of too much basil'. An anonymous source pointed out that one of the delegates to the symposium was in the men's room at the time the vote was taken, while another delegate was under the misapprehension that they were voting on whether or not to have olives on their pizza. This raises questions about the scientific validity of the decision.

The decision to demote Urania comes close on the heels of controversy around the role of Clio, who was recently accused of fact-tampering in connection with the White House. It is rumored that Clio plans to forfeit the rest of the Bush Administration, though History was not available for comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, societal trend watchers have pointed to the increasing tendency towards the elimination of groups of nine. The decision on Urania follows a decision that demotes Pluto from its status as a planet, and Tolkien scholars are currently locked in heated debate on whether Pippin really deserves to be one of the fellowship of the Ring, given how often he kept getting in Gandalf's way. There are also rumours of evolutionary biologists, in association with researchers from the Schroedinger school, trying to determine whether cats really need more than 8 lives.

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Space Bar said...


Anonymous said...

Space Bar beat me to it! So I'll go 'hee hee, brilliant'.

Jabberwock said...

P.S. the above commenter was me - don't know how I accidentally logged out.

Aishwarya said...


sunshine said...

absolutely brilliant!.. i'd sure like a day in that head of urs!

drifting leaf said...

:) made me smile...

Just Mohit said...

Hmmm...I see your culinary adventures in mom's kitchen have left an undelible (indelible? unedible? editable?) mark!

Szerelem said...

*applause* Excellent!

gauravonomics said...

LOL! Brilliant!

Raoul said...

Very funny, yes. As far as Pluto is concerned however, I'm with the IAU on that one. Pluto's nothing more than a frozen Kuiper belt asteroid posing as a dwarf planet. At best.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

In the manner of Woody Allen. Very nice.

Mohit, "indelible". Like ink manufactured in Mysore.


shamash said...

What a stunning bit of satire that had me ROFL.


Falstaff said...

space bar: Thanks

Jabberwock: Thanks

Aishwarya: Thanks

Sunshine: Thanks. But trust me, it's not fun being in my head

leaf: Thanks

mohit: Ummm...I'm not sure I see the connection. And as JAP says - it's indelible.

szerelem: Thanks

Gauravonomics: Thanks

raoul: Frankly, I'm not sure I care enough to have a point of view. Also, well, I'm serious about astronomy not needing a 'muse'. Since when do scientists have muses?

J.A.P: *bows humbly* Such praise! Thank you.

shamash: Thanks

Just Mohit said...

Boss & JAP-Boss: Mainu pata si ki ye indelible hoya si...assi weak attempt humor naal kar rahe si...phir bhi thankoo haiga!
Connection aapki post mein liberally sprinkled haiga..e.g. "poured too much relish on his couscous", "slightly overdone with a hint of too much basil", "voting on whether or not to have olives on their pizza"!
Koi gal nahin, did i tell you ji ki ye post bada hi changa haiga!

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