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  • A Truncated History of the Universe for DummiesA Rant Dance
  • Yvonne Rainer (bio)

Call me Apollo Musagete, Leader of the Muses, God of the Sun. I’ve spent a lot of time down here trying to get things straightened out for youse guys. Like that miscreant Ulysses. I made a special trip out to his ship to appeal to him. “Ulysses,” I said, “Stop farting around with Scylla and Charybdis and get yourself home to Penelope. She doesn’t know whether you’re alive or dead and is just about to give up on you. Go home, Ulysses. Go home!”

And did he listen to me? No, he did not. Instead, he had himself tied to the mast so he could listen to those ladies out on that island.

And then there was Ariadne, or was it Eurydice who died from a snakebite and landed in Hades? Her boyfriend Orpheus asked me to go down there to help negotiate a pact with the devil. Pluto was so charmed by his lyre playing that he agreed to let her go, but on one condition. On the way back, with Eurydice behind us, I was filled with trepidation and felt compelled to remind him: “Orpheus, you were warned not to look back. She’s right behind us. Don’t look back at her. Puh-leeze don’t look back!” Well, we all know what happened to HER—and him, incidentally.

And that heel, Achilles. I tried to reason with him. “Look, man, you’ve been at this heroics game long enough. Let Hector find someone else to punch in the nose. Take a rest. You’ve made your mark in the world. Isn’t it about time you retired?” “And gimme a break with that Trojan Horse, Homer! How could anyone be so gullible as to bring that thing into the city?” In both instances it was like talking to a wall. [End Page 1]

Earth’s latest outrage—or, next in line, according to some people—is that scumbag murderer, Assad. If anyone needs reasoning with, it’s HIM. I went over there and got my foot in the door. (Don’t worry, I was very polite.) “Mr. Assad,” I yelled through the crack in the door. “Mr. Assad, with all due respect, what kind of country do you think you’re going to rule when all this is over? The entire population will be either dead or fled. Why, I couldn’t even get near the gates of Aleppo, so many refugees were streaming out, thick as thieves.”

He slammed the door in my face. The same with Agamemnon after I berated him for going to war over a single broad. And that idiot King Lear, who couldn’t see what was in front of his nose. I told William if he couldn’t do better than that, I wasn’t coming to his party. And OEDIPUS! I pleaded with him not to kill that old guy in the road. I knew, if he did, that all hell would break loose, especially after that weirdo in Vienna got so stuck on him!

At this point you may well ask how I became so embroiled with earthlings. The long and short of it is that I was just going about my business driving my golden chariot across the heavens every day when some of them sent urgent tweets begging me to intervene in their messes. So I came down and we exchanged gravitons.

(Tangentially, while down here some years ago—if I remember correctly, it was 1963—I invited Isaac—Newton to you—to be my dance partner in an erotic duet during which fifty red rubber balls were to be thrown down from the choir loft of Judson Church. He declined. He objected to my choice of fifty balls rather than one, but also said I was too old for him. I had to admit that I’d been around quite a bit longer than he had!)

Anyway, after a few centuries of these rebuffs I was getting pretty demoralized. Mind you, I had approached countless MORE troublemakers who subsequently disdained my advice and entreaties, like that badass in...


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