Forewarned by Jorge Luis Borges (I)
My duty should be made clear to you at the outset. I am here to perform a duty not mine so much as it is that of our very own Warner. After realizing that he was going to have me write the forward to his treatise on video games, Warner feared that his critics would assume that he would like to put distance between his own thoughts and their reception. We have all experienced those times when in the heat of inspiration our original thoughts come bubbling up to the surface remarkably. If you are lucky enough to write these glorious ideas down on paper, however, you will find that they are not so remarkable. Of course, you’d still like the credit for having thought about something. The critics, Warner feared, would accuse him of this kind of vanity. “After reading what I have written,” Warner imagined the potential critics thinking Warner said to himself, “I surely can’t publish this seriously. Surely, no one will take me seriously. These original thoughts are not all that great, anyway. And I must be great! I know—I will have Borges write my forward.”
It was in this backward feed loop that I found Warner beset in his back garden. I ran to his house after enduring a panicked phone call from him. He was close to tears, even! I went up to my friend and settled him down, as any good friend would do, and asked him what was wrong. He told me outright, “Oh, Borges, please write the forward to my treatise on video games! If you don’t, the critics won’t take me seriously. They will think I was trying to get some distance from my ideas!”
You can see how, no matter what, I was forced to perform my duty.
Please also understand what the duty of writing a forward to a treatise is. When you are the author of a forward to a treatise, you must make it your primary objective to have the forward longer than the treatise itself. This is the only way to publish a treatise as a full-length book. Without a longer forward, most treatises would be subjugated to the unfortunate length of pamphlets. And pamphlets are inherently pedestrian. Warner does not want people who walk to read this treatise. This is why we are posting this treatise on his blog here at ReformingImagination.com. Warner imagines that most of his readers find their existences at the screen.
Warner is telling me now to put in the part about how he is trying to do a new thing. This new thing is that of a treatise published serially on a blog. Digital treatises like this, he says, that still follow the same format of treatises published as books. This is why there is the need for a long forward like this.
Warner now has to catch a flight.
He just left…please know now that what is about to follow are the pure thoughts of myself, Jorge Borges. I would like you to know at the outset that I have renamed this forward forewarned. Let me explain, briefly: I am a critic of Warner.