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Inanity Doubled

People sometimes make fun of mathematicians because of the inane things they do. Examples are the multiple proofs that 1 = 2 or the Banach-Tarski Paradox.

But, other disciplines are just as bad when it comes to inane actions. Consider these two examples.

Example 1: In 1952, avant-garde composer John Cage wrote 4'33", considered to be the "quietest piece of music ever written." In performace, a pianist sits by a piano for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, using gestures to indicate the three movements of the piece, yet plays nothing.

In fact, the entire score is blank, and can be "played" using any instrument desired. The intended "music" is the sounds the audience hears throughout the concert hall during the playing of the piece (e.g. coughing, rustle of a program).

Example 2: In 1939, Ernest Wright wrote the novel Gadsby. The plot involves the dying city of Branton Hills, being revitalized due to efforts of protagonist John Gadsby and a youth group he organizes.

Sounds normal, right? Except, the more than 50,000 word story never involves a word having the letter "E"! (You can find it FREE on-line.)

If you like Gadsby, try a translation of the French novel A Void. Written in 1969 by Geoirges Perec, it is 300-page novel that again does not use the letter "E" (except for the author's name).

So, let the inaneness (or insanity) of all disciplines continue, without anyone pointing fingers at just mathematicians.