April 11th, 2006

krazy koati

Richard, why don't you open that door?

You know, songwriters and gadget inventors in the Kim Possible universe -- or the universe of Totally Spies, and for that matter, really, pretty near any super-spy or super-hero based universe -- have got to have a really hard time coming up with any kind of fad or novelty hit that sweeps the nation without immediately coming under suspicion of being involved in some mass hypnotism or public mind-control or worldwide devastation project. People would have excellent reason for thinking so, of course. One day all the kids in elementary school are buying klackers and irritating their teachers with the racket during lunch, next day every time a klacker klacks the noise grows three decibels louder until the cities are being shattered from the noise. Eventually people would start being preemptively wary of any new band that appears from nowhere with a catchy jingle, a silly music video, and an army of thirty million teenage zombies converging on Mahwah, New Jersey.

In our timeline, of course, we now handle the problem of world-menacing novelty songs by suppressing them mercilessly. (Fad objects we tie in to iPods whenever possible.) Oh, we claim we can handle the occasional the nonsensical tune by keeping around Weird Al, even though his albums never actually appear in stores, or the Doctor Demento show, which I never heard on an actual radio station -- only on tapes whose origins the owners didn't know -- and probably is now a Podcast of some kind. Meanwhile the authorities punish people who might give in to a bit of whimsy by sneaking into their CD players things like Barnyard Animals Squawk, Cluck, And Moo The Great Movie Romance Themes Of The Seventies, about half a minute of which will send people back to songs that don't give any hint of an involuntary grin having slipped in anytime during the writing, recording, or listening stages. Even then about one silly little tune slips through every decade or so, but that seems to be at a level low enough to keep most of the population from turning into were-dinosaur monsters.

Trivia: Church bells were rung in celebration throughout Amsterdam in 1599 to celebrate the arrival of the first successful convoy from the East Indies; it was loaded with 600,000 pounds of pepper, and as much nutmeg, cloves, and other spices. Source: The Island at the Centre of the World, Russell Shorto.

Currently Reading: Proteus in the Underworld, Charles Sheffield.