Monday, April 29, 2013

Madness And What The Mouse Saw

“I’m sorry I gave you bad info,” the mouse said,
“but sometimes it isn’t really clear to us mice
which of you humans are female and which are male.”

“I knew Ub Iwerks was a man,” the writer said,
“but it was fun going back in time and seeing
the Iwerks/Disney friendship as a mouse saw it.
To be honest, in a theater production,
Anne Hathaway might do a good job as Iwerks.”

The time-traveling mad scientist mouse just shrugged.
“The story’s about mice and people,” the mouse said.
“The real people never wondered if the real mice
were male or female. Why should the mice have wondered
about the people? Why would it even come up?”

“In a theater production,” the writer said,
“casting a woman to play the part of a man
underscores the marginal nature of gender
that is the marginal nature in that story
but at the same time would create controversy.
Some people think gender can’t be marginalized.”

The time-traveling mad scientist mouse just shrugged.
The mouse looked at the writer. “What are you again?”

“I’m a man,” the writer said. “And, umm, what are you?”

The time-traveling mad scientist mouse just shrugged.
“I’m a female. But don’t get any ideas.”

The writer laughed. “At some point I’ll have to decide
how to animate the mice. How they should be drawn.
Some people think gender can’t be marginalized.”

“You can create a conversation,” the mouse said,
“and have Iwerks and Disney discuss mouse gender.
That would be a tease if an actress plays Iwerks.
And you could indirectly explain your own mice.”

“That’s a good idea,” the writer said, nodding.

“I’m a scientist,” the mouse said, shrugging again.

“True,” the writer said. “But you’re a mad scientist.
And why exactly are you a mad scientist?”

“Mice don’t think it’s good for mice to mix with people.”

“Same here. I’d probably be called a mad writer.”

For a moment the scientist and writer sat
silently, enjoying each other’s company.

“I hope the play can get a good budget,” one said.
“It’s nice to see a cool story about friendship.”

“Yes,” the other agreed. “It’s more or less true, too.
Although probably it’s easier to believe
in the time-travel part than in the friendship part.”

Nodding, they both shrugged, and they both laughed quietly.

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