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Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 12:27:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: What abos?

--- Tony Ellis  wrote:
> Jerry Friedman wrote:
> > To sum up: I see more and better evidence against the abos' existence
> > than for it.
> Pro abo:
> Having primed us with the knowledge that abos can't use tools, Wolfe
> tells
> us over and over again that Victor is completely ham-fisted. More than
> that,
> he makes Marsch, the arrogant academic who is looking for abos, tell us
> this
> over and over, without once making the connection. This is typical both
> of
> the way Wolfe encodes true information, and of his penchant for poking
> fun at academics.

Victor again.  If he fantasizes that he's an abo, you would expect him
to pretend to be ham-fisted, or he may be taking "advantage" of and
even "developing" his natural clumsiness.  I can just see him at five
refusing to hold the pencil the way the other kids did.

> The account of Rober Culot

He remembers that his grandfather claimed to see abos in order to
annoy Robert's father (if I remember right)--not very convincing.
By the way, the surname "Culot" doesn't inspire confidence.

> And don't forget that the interviews we see are
> only the tip of the iceberg of accounts Marsch has gathered.

We have no idea what the rest are like.
> Marsch himself writes "There was a native race. The stories are too
> widespread, to circumstantial, too well documented."  He may be
> arrogant, but he's not stupid, and he's put in the legwork.

Above you made him look pretty stupid.  Anyway, Marsch wants to find
abos, so it's no surprise that he believes he does.  He may be right,
or he may be thinking wishfully.

> And finally. If there really aren't any abos, doesn't that make for kind
> of a dull story? :-)

Maybe, maybe not.  I like _Pale Fire_ a lot, though my reading of it
is that Kinbote and Shade don't exist.  (My suggestions here may have
been influenced a lot by _Pale Fire_.)

Jerry Friedman

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