March 26, 2014

March 26, 2014

Beware the Jabberwock, My Son

Whether you love captchas or hate them with the warmth of a thousand suns, they’re here to stay. Partly because they help distinguish us from the robots (FOR NOW), partly because they help the Powers That Be transcribe old books, and partly because I like all my lists to have three points.

It’s fine. Really, it is. Even though some captchas lately have involved numbers rather than letters. Those tend to be even easier because there are fewer numbers than letters, at least in English. Your native language’s mileage may vary.

(Related: On this week’s Brain of Britain, we learned that the number four is represented in Morse code by four dots AND A DASH. I bet Samuel Morse found that effing hilarious. Dick move, man.)

So I’m clicking around Ticketmaster browsing John Hodgman tickets (still undecided) when I get this:

Now, okay. Two can play at this game. And by “game,” I mean “reciting ‘Jabberwocky’ in its entirety.” This was a moment I’d been waiting for since 1995.

(I am also prepared with the first chapter of the Bible book of James, all the US Presidents in order, and the first verse of that Nations of the World song from Animaniacs.)

Those of you also familiar with the poem know that it includes a lot of tongue-twisting portmanteaus. Because I wanted to show our future robot overlords* that humanity still has a thing or two going for it, I tried:

I hoped that my “error” would at least be logged somewhere if not actually reported to the robot overlords.

But “mimsy borogroves” was accepted. ACCEPTED. As if they knew my game all along. As if, had I typed “mimsy borogoves” I would have torn a hole in the Matrix because humans are so fallible the robots have already accounted for our puny, oxygen-dependent, meatsack-operating brains.


* Who are obviously running this whole captcha scheme and possibly the Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority as sort of psychological experiements in traumatic stress.

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