Saturday, December 11, 2010


There I was reading a post on Slashdot about Stephen Fry and the USB Sniffer Report and I scrolled to the bottom to take a look at the randomly generated quotation in the footer of the page. It was Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad. This is a clever variation of an ancient proverb those whom the gods destory they first make mad. Several variations of the original proverb exist and are attributed to various people, but my favourite riff on it is also how I learnt about the proverb in the first place: An episode from the third season of the original Star Trek titled Whom Gods Destroy. When I caught a rerun of the episode a few years ago, I noticed how similar it was to an episode from the first season Dagger of the Mind, which took its title from a soliloquy in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, which was staged in another Star Trek episode The Conscience of the King (which took its title from Shakespeare's Hamlet). At this point, the only digression that can prevent me from gambolling about the bardian field is how I was struck by the identical opening of two Sherlock Holmes tales The Resident Patient and The Adventure of the Cardboard Box. It was only years later that I read about the reasons behind this. Until then it was fodder for a Sherlock Holmes quiz.

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