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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Six Degrees of Baron Zemo

Posted by John Holbo on 10/16/06 at 09:20 AM

Of course we’ve all played that amusing social network parlor game a hundred times. A few of the more fanatic among us have even calculated Szardos numbers. (To have a finite Szardos number, you must team-up with someone who has teamed-up with Nightcrawler’s adopted mom.)

But how many of us have actually hauled off and written “Marvel Universe Looks Almost Like a Real Social Network,” by R. Alberich, J. Miro-Julia, F. Rosello? This passage caught my eye:

... The Marvel Universe network captures the social structure of this Marvel Universe, because most pairs of characters that have jointly appeared in the same comic book have fought shoulder to shoulder or each other, or have had some other strong relationship, like family ties or kidnapping. Thus, it shares, in its artificial way, the true social nature of scientific collaboration networks ...

Which, they go on to explain, involve family ties or kidnapping. (No. They don’t.)

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been sort of sick - with a high fever even - for several days. And that’s why I haven’t been posting. I trust a silly post about the place won’t be taken amiss.

Or consider this a postscript to our Maps, Graphs and Trees event.

You’ll probably tell me that everyone else was laughing about this paper 3 years ago. But I missed the memo.


Comments

I followed the wiki link, above, and eventually ended up here, where I discovered this:
--
Belasco’s early history is told by the poet Dante, though there is some dispute as to the veracity of these accounts [me: no kidding?]. Allegedly, Belasco was a sorcerer in 13th Century Italy who used his knowledge of alchemy and the black arts to contact the Elder Gods (actually extradimensional demonic entities). He forged a pact with them enabling them to cross the barrier to our dimension using a pentagonal arrangement of five Bloodstones. In return, Belasco was granted immortality and immense mystical power. He was also given a demonic appearance, as he was intended to form a new race of Earth-dwelling demons.

To this end, he kidnapped Bice “Beatrice” dei Portinari, beloved of Dante [me: my students wonder about what Mrs. Alighieri thought D’s pining], to give birth to the first of this new race. He fled with her to the Atlantean isle of Pangea, where the Elder Gods directed him to Mt. Flavius, where their summoning ritual could take place. While en route, Belasco raped Beatrice, and she was nine months pregnant by the time they arrived. He embarked onto the island, closely pursued by Dante, and took Beatrice into a network of underground passages designed to resemble Hell. Dante found them just in time to witness Beatrice dying in childbirth and, enraged, he attacked Belasco. During the battle, a pipe was accidentally struck, releasing an unknown liquid that placed Belasco in suspended animation. At some point on the island, Belasco also lost the locket containing the Bloodstones.

--

Lost opportunity or misreading or something: I just finished teaching the Inferno, but somehow, all this Belasco material, I’m sad to say, slipped by me.

By on 10/17/06 at 09:34 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Thanks, Karl. (Now if only I could figure out why, when one person has left a comment, the comment counter still reads 0.)

By John Holbo on 10/17/06 at 11:18 AM | Permanent link to this comment

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