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Ye Olde Apocalypse
10.10.2003 by Sarah.

[Author's Note: This time I met our heroine at an informal wine and cheese party hosted by a friend of mine. Although the rest of the guests sampled the Chardonnay, our heroine sipped at a mug full of mead. She also chewed grape-flavored bubble-gum, which she then stuck underneath the seat of her chair, furtively.]

I don't wish to alarm you, but the world is headed towards disaster at warp speed. WARP SPEED. I suppose you think the term comes from the notion of warping the dimensions of space, creating shortcuts through the outermost sphere by forming wrinkles in the celestial æther. You're wrong, of course. Everyone's wrong. And that's why no one's seen it coming. The disaster.

See, the "warp" in "warp speed" is derived from an older usage of the Old English word weorpan, meaning (and here I rely on the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary that I carry with me wherever I go) "to project through space, to cast, throw, fling." In the Anglo-Saxon King Aelfred’s translation of Boethius (888 AD), one finds the earliest use of "warp" as a transitive verb: "Þa hine mon on ðæt fyr wearp ða alysde ic hine mid heofonlicon rene." I trust you agree with me on this point. To travel at warp speed is, therefore, to hurl oneself through space, presumably at an exceedingly rapid clip.

But let us look at the man who invented the phrase that has insidiously insinuated itself into the collective consciousness: John W. Campbell, Jr. The man who virtually invented the modern literary genre of science fiction, Campbell was an influential writer and editor who made possible the careers of such now-illustrious figures as Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. Yes, in 1949 Campbell masterminded the development of the dangerous cult organizations that espouse Dianetics and Scientology.

But surely this has nothing to do with Anglo-Saxons and their simple, yet beautiful language? If only we could be so lucky. In September of 1955, L. Ron Hubbard published a statement wherein he affirmed that "Scientology is the only Anglo-Saxon-developed science of the mind and spirit." In January of the following year, he traveled to London to deliver a speech on "Anglo-Saxon Thought."

The pieces of this startling quilt of iniquity come together when we remember that around this time, novelist and medieval Anglo-Saxon scholar J.R.R. Tolkien published his famous trilogy (even more famous nowadays), The Fellowship of the Ring, which tells of the trials of the hobbits, wizards, dwarves, and an elfish king named Elrond--or did he mean L. Ron? What was the connection between Tolkien and Hubbard, after all? And what are we to make of this strange connection between warp speed, Scientology, and Anglo-Saxon England?

There may be only one conclusion to be drawn from this madness. The current worldwide sensation surrounding Tolkien and the Fellowship is naught by a carefully orchestrated first step in the commencement of a new age on Earth. The time has come. Elijah Wood will soon announce himself as the Messiah who will deliver us all--at warp speed!--into the darkness of a world based on the society of pre-Norman England. And then he will star in the sequel to "Battleship Earth."

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