After a moment or two a man in brown crimplene looked in at us, did not at all like the look of us and asked us if we were transit passengers. We said we were. He shook his head with infinite weariness and told us that if we were transit passengers then we were supposed to be in the other of the two rooms. We were obviously very crazy and stupid not to have realized this. He stayed there slumped against the door jamb, raising his eyebrows pointedly at us until we eventually gathered our gear together and dragged it off down thecorridor to the other room. He watched us go past him shaking his head in wonder and sorrow at the stupid futility of the human condition in general and ours in particular and then closed the door behind us.The second room was identical to the first. Identical in all respects other than one, which was that it had a hatchway let into one wall. A large vacant-looking girl was leaning through it with her elbows on the counter and her fists jammed up into her cheekbones. She was watching some flies crawling up the wall, not with any great interest because they were not doing anything unexpected, but at least they were doing something. Behind her was a table stacked with biscuits, chocolate bars, cola and a pot of coffee and we headed straight towards this like a pack of stoats. Just before we reached it, however, we were suddenly headed off by a man in blue crimplene, who asked us what we thought we were doing in there. We explained that we were transit passengers on our way to Zaire and he looked at us as if we had completely taken leave of our senses.'Transit passengers? he said. 'It is not allowed for transit passengers to be in here.' He waved us magnificently away from the snack counter, made us pick up all our gear again and herded us back through the door and away into the first room where, a minute later, the man in the brown crimplene found us again.He looked at us. Slow incomprehension engulfed him, followed by sadness, anger, deep frustration and a sense that the world had been created specifically to cause him vexation. He leaned back against the wall, frowned, closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.'You are in the wrong room,' he said simply. `You are transit passengers. Please go to the other room.'There is a wonderful calm that comes over you in such situations, particularly when there is a refreshment kiosk involved. We nodded, picked up our gear in a Zen-like manner and made our way back down the corridor to the second room. Here the man in blue crimplene accosted us once more but we patiently explained to him that he could fuck off.
Douglas Adams
Imagine for a moment that you are the proud owner of a large house which you have spent years of your life painting and decorating and filling with everything you love. It's your home. It's something you've made your own, something for you to be remembered by, something that, perhaps years later, your children and grandchildren can visit and get a view of your life in. It's part of your creativity, your hard work... it's your property.Now suppose you decide to go camping for a couple of weeks. You lock your door and assume that nobody is going to break in... but they do and when you return home, to your horror you find that not only do these trespassers break in, but they also have quite uniquely imaginative ways of disrespecting, vandalizing and corrupting everything within your property. They light fires on your lawn, your topiary hedges are in heaps of black ashes. There's some blatantly obscene graffiti splattered across your front door, offensive images and rude words splashed on the walls and windows. Your television has been tipped over. Your photographs of family and friends have had the heads cut out of them. There's mold growing in the refrigerator, bottles of booze tipped over on the table and cigarette smoke embedded into the carpeting. Your beloved houseplants are dead, your furniture has been stripped down and ruined. Basically, the thing you've spent years working for and creating within your lifetime has been tampered with to the point where it is just a grim joke.So, I feel terrible for poor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Austen and Lewis Carroll, who must be spinning in their graves since they have no rights to their own works of fiction anymore. I am all for readers being able to read books for free once and only when the deceased author's copyright eventually ends. Still though, did Doyle ever think in a million years that his wonderful characters would be dragged through the mud of every pervy fanfiction that the sick internet geek can think of to create? Did Carroll ever suspect that Alice and the Hatter would become freakish clown-like goth caricatures in Tim Burton's CGI-infested films? Would Austen really want her writing to be sold as badly-formatted ebooks?The sharing of this Public Domain content isn't really an issue. Stories are meant to be told, meant to echo onward forever. That's what makes them magical. That being said, in the Information Age, there's a real lack of respect towards the creators of this original content. If, when I've been dead for 70 years and I then no longer have the rights to my novels, somebody gets the bright idea of doing anything funny with any of those novels, my ghost is going to rise from the grave and do some serious ass-kicking.
Rebecca McNutt