Sunday, 16 December 2007

I move in elevated circles

I was chatting to my friend Quentin yesterday, when suddenly, halfway through a mouthful of watercress, he asked, "Is it possible for someone to be an impostor as an impostor?" What did Quentin mean, you may well ask. I wasn't sure either, so I telephoned Tama, a logician with the philosophy department at Melbourne University, whom I happen to know because his cohabitrix makes a damned fine chickpea bake. I intercepted Tama right in the middle of some philosophising, even though it was a Saturday. Someone should notify the union. Meanwhile ...

"Tama," I said, "Is it possible for someone to be an impostor as an impostor?"

"What do you mean?" he said.

"Good point," I said.

"Instead of thinking about impostors imposting as impostors, why don't you think about George Bush's coinage, 'misunderestimation'?" he said.

And so I did. I'm still not sure if "misunderestimation" means falsely underestimating, and thus estimating correctly (or perhaps overestimating), or whether it means it's high time they had their next presidential election, those Americanians.

Unrelatedly, today I saw the name of the vicar at Moonee Ponds Anglican Church: the Rev. Bill A. Beagley. I would pay cold hard cash to have Beagley as my surname.

17 comments:

Martin Kingsley said...

If I think about this for any longer than I already have, my brain will come squeaking out my ears. I am, however, seriously intrigued by this chickpea bake.

TimT said...

I don't move in elevated circles, but I do move in a circular elevator from time to time.

You may question the geometrical utility of circular elevators, especially when it comes to the question of transport from one floor to another, but I assure you, they are far superior to the decagonal elevators of my yesteryear.

TimT said...

Another possible title for this post: Impostulations.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all night.*

*(Not true. I may go to bed.)

Jo said...

My aunt's religious honcho in Taree was named Rev. Death.

A boon at funerals.

alexis said...

Also known as Jack Kevorkian?

alexis said...

Martin, the sire of Jen's chickpea do resides at the Moroccan Soup Kitchen. It goes something like this: chickpeas, slivers of capsicum, choppings of flat parsley, mashings of garlic, lashings of lemon juice, drizzlings of olive oil and yoghourt, sprinklings of salt, lavishings of chunks of fried lavosh bread, eatings of the result. Very tasty.

alexis said...

Tim, yar, verily you do upstage me on all occasions. No doubt the elevator helps with the upstaging.

nailpolishblues said...

Personally, I prefer not to think about G.W. Bush at all. It gives me pain.

Is it possible for someone to be an impostor as an impostor? - I almost had an answer for this but then I sprained something in my head and forgot everything.

alexis said...

So, it's certainly possible for an impostor to impersonate another particular impostor, for, say, Impostor A to pass herself off as Impostor B. (Now that I've said that, though, what would it be to impersonate Impostor B? Would one have to impersonate the person Impostor B impersonates, in an Impostor-B-esque mode of impersonation, or is there an essence of Impostor B, which transcends all Impostor B's various impostes, and an impersonation of Impostor B would capture and incarnate that trascendent Impostor-B-ness?)

What I'm less certain about is whether it's possible for an impostor to pose as an impostor in the abstract. Isn't the essence of being-an-impostor that one conceals the fact that one is being-an-impostor? To signal that one is being-an-impostor is to contradict one of the necessary conditions of being-an-impostor. In this sense, it's impossible to be an impostor as an impostor.

Like the lady said, quod erat demonstrandum.

eagle nesting said...

Perhaps one needs to turn to the definition of impostor rather than to logic. There is the impostor who successfully carries off all the attributes of Person B and then there are mere impostors, who, on the whole, don't try to impersonate anyone, but aren't doing such a crash hot job of being what they imagine themselves to be. I would suggest that an "impostor of an impostor" is merely a poor imposter who is not the impostor she thinks she is and, therefore, no impostor at all.

TimT said...

I'm just impostling off to send some imposts at the Impost Office.

Anonymous said...

ho ho ho

alexis said...

I think you're onto something, Eyrie. If we can define our terms, we probably have our answer. (Or we'll see that the question - meaning no disrespect to Quentin - is a nonsense.)

lucy tartan said...

I think one could probably pose as an impostor. Actually isn't that how the whole Cold War was more or less carried out?

I'm also picturing some sort of double-cross literary hoax where Norma Khouri actually turns out to be...Norma Khouri, etc.

Coming up with a viable scenario would make a good creative writing exercise.

alexis said...

are you sure?

lucy tartan said...

Um, no

alexis said...

Yeah, sorry about the service round here, Lucy T. What I meant to say, before I failed to get round to it, is that the prospect of a double-hoaxing literary hoaxer (a Jordanian author pretending to be not a Jordanian author pretending to be a Jordanian author, for instance) has instant appeal. They could turn it into a doco.