No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace our solemnity. […]
Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
— A Midsummer Night’s Dream (IV, 1)
Today is the first day of May. On this day, Americans join together like good Communists from other countries to affirm their commitment to an ideology of Authority. Gaelic pagans of old (and wiki-pagans of the modern age) celebrate the day as Beltane, and indeed, the attitude of begging personal intercession from nature spirits intimately concerned with human reproductive business has not entirely left the occasion.
It is a day for scratching a spiritual itch.
And what could be more spiritual or more sublime than geeking out with a crowd of like- but not identical-minded folk about the difference between book and film, the interplay of text and subtext, about science fiction as art? It’s a fitting time to explore, with Jeremy Bruno, why Jurassic Park is not a pro-science movie. How better to sharpen the joy of æsthetic contemplation than to indulge our primate appetites and join together against a common enemy? We are gyptians, meeting in the hall of the Gyptian King — otherwise known as a blog comment thread — to test the weaknesses of the Magisterium, who stand against freedom and reason, and who are played in this episode by Michael Crichton.
Come, join us!