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The Essay
Show #132
The Theory of Disputational Distortion
David Gunn
The Theory of Disputational Distortion is one of those humanistic hypotheses that gives existentialism a bad name, the willies, and a run for its money, not necessarily in that order. Formulated long ago by a coven of epistemological crackpots, the Theory is so fraught with contradictions and incongruities that, under normal circumstances, it tends to deny its own existence. In its original form, the Theory is over eight thousand words in length, however a recent computer program based upon Mobius strip analysis reduced it to the single, unpronounceable Athabaskan word for "Mesopotamia." Simply stated, the Theory can never be, as it consists mostly of irrational syllogisms, equivocal speculations, dialectic disagreements, functionally abstract absurdities, a priori sophisms, and many conflicting points of view, often all within a single dependent clause. The premises themselves are couched in subheadings so obtuse that even the brightest word scholars have been humbled and left to mutter about Aristotle's pantaloons. In fact, the Theory is so systematically unswayed by logic that comprehension is the exception, rather than the rule. Utter bewilderment is the Theory's most frequent contribution to the store of human knowledge, followed closely by a queasy feeling in the pit of ones stomach.

The most readable version -- both in terms of understanding and penmanship -- was concocted by a trio of former International Layman's Language Institute interns 30 years ago. Kuprini, Nuncvik and Blew, candidates for membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Eskimos, had accompanied nine other Inuitians to an old mining shack in Klegmore, Northwest Territories, a remote hamlet in northwesternmost Canada. The three, businessmen from Victoria, were unused to temperatures so cold that the light appeared blue-black in color and texture. It was too cold to talk, too -- mouths tended to freeze open or closed -- so everyone engaged in Athabaskan hand gestures. The Klegmore outing was supposed to have been a hedonistic retreat at a luxurious spa, but the BPOE member who headed the Travel Committee, since removed, had failed to properly research the accommodations.

At any rate, Kuprini, Nuncvik and Blew found that by deleting all but every 250th word in the text and anagrammatizing any leftover words sesquipedalian in spirit, if not in fact, the Theory could be distilled to the following: "Equivocal chaos may determine theoretical conditions for disturbing quantized energy flashes within a provocatively adulterated essence were it not for the high value bestowed upon chicanery and particle wave duality, the reactive premise of which exists retrosporadically, whiskers six-draw." The transliteration was nothing if not controversial, and the three sat around the mining shack at length discussing it. By arguing in Athabaskan hand gestures, they didn't disturb the others, plus the rapid motions helped keep blood flowing to the extremities.

But it did something else, too: the swirling gestures combined with the cold, blue-black luminescence somehow made minute puncture holes in the space-time continuum. The more they gesticulated, the more unreliable the reality around them became. And when a strange new variable based on sublime eccentricity was added to the transcendentally philosophic melange by a tall, bejerkined fur trader with tokamakic leanings, the three suddenly felt themselves flowing inexorably towards a parallel reality, one so dense that light cannot escape from it, however sound -- Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar in general and this 132nd episode in particular -- is free to leave in a simultaneous amalgam of oriange flambeau not to be missed ... by you, our listening audient, or by Kalvos.