The Algorithm Finds Brooke Shields

It looks like those zany Englanders need some lessons in drawing muted post horns:

The Alphabet of Brooke Shields

This graffito has been puzzling people all throughout London. First described by Londonist, it remains enigmatic. Sightings throughout the Greater London Above area are tabulated here. (Something odd also seems to be happening with Frozen Indigo Angel, which sounds an awful lot like a codename Charles Stross would invent for a Bob Howard novel.) Metro.co.uk writes,

So do you have any theories? Do you know what Alphabet of Brooke Shields means? Tell us in the comments, please. We’re going mad here. In this puzzle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in Brooke Shields, only one thing is certain — if it turns out to be just some rubbish viral marketing for a band or a perfume or a robotic dog or something, we’re all going to be very upset indeed.

I’m torn. Does this topic require more Neverwhere jokes (“Brooke Shields” is actually a warrior princess fording rivers in London Below) or more The Crying of Lot 49 references? (Weird “Alphabet” Still Teasingly Elusive. Don’t Ever Alphabetize The Horn.)

I’m also gearing up to be disappointed. Remember when pedestrians talking to empty air on city streets were madmen instead of executives? Lunacy and interconnectedness — the epileptic Word written on the subway walls — have been debased. I’m fully expecting this to turn out to be yet another viral marketing scheme, the latest in a litany of psy-war tactics to use “that Internet thing” to sell us non-biodegradable consumer products made from refried petroleum. As Neil Gaiman says — sparked by advert jingles disguised as rock songs — “Suddenly Bill Hicks seems wiser than ever. . . .”

The only chance to redeem the meme is to steal it: we decide for ourselves that “alphabet of Brooke Shields” points to a pure idea, some asterism in our fluctuating culture which speaks of truth, innocence, curiosity and our common humanity. And then we Googlebomb the viral marketers back into the Stone Age.

The Algorithm will always find Brooke Shields.

(Tip o’ the tinfoil hat to Warren Ellis.)

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