Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kinds of Hypnotized Horse Acts

The ordinary or simple hypnotized horse act is not very notable. It’s something of a time killer at best. Even for people familiar with horses the horse does nothing remarkable, nothing a un-hypnotized horse might do just as well, with the right training. Most acts begin with a few of these: some counting, nodding, neighing.

The next level of hypnotized horse act is a little more interesting and complicated, because the horse does something that takes a lot of training whether or not it is actually hypnotized. Advanced though it is, it still overlaps with the high end of well-trained horse acts and still begs the question of what it means to have hypnotized a horse. Typical: standing on hind legs, tightrope walking, using a knife and fork.

The genre of the hypnotized horse act really comes into its own with the advanced tricks. Here the horse is doing something that it is normally so disinclined to do, the audience readily assents that it must be, in fact, hypnotized. Typically this involves sitting in a chair, (silently) reading the paper, light acrobatics, playing more than one instrument.

Master hypnotized horse acts are usually saved for the finale of the best shows commonly seen, if that (actually, most acts proceed no further than the intermediate level at best, which leads to the general apathy about the acts as a whole). In these the horse does something generally regarded as impossible by those unfamiliar with hypnotized horses. These include such things as short improvised speeches in human languages on a subject of the audience’s choosing, crude magic tricks, climbing trees and short and very limited bursts of flight. This will immediately prompt the question for many in the audience as to who, really, has been hypnotized.

Hypnotized horse acts of the Grand Masters, are, in fact, hard to see and quite poorly documented. Nonetheless, in what accounts we have of them, they continue themes and acts of the Master Acts: the horse may answer more complicated questions, or debate a learned member of the audience on a subject of their particular expertise. The horse may cruelly follow on this by making some of it’s points in a precise mimicked impersonation of a person familiar to the speaker, or even their own voice. This mimicry, though often comedic, generally fills the audience with horror. Chess tournaments are rare, for, if accounts are to be believed, the horse acquit themselves only passably, always opening with N-KB3. Though in Master hypnotized horse acts, the points made by the horse can be light to quite specious, in Grand master acts the horses are diabolical advocates, often on controversial or unacceptable theses. This is only made worse by any kind of mathematical or logical act, in which the horses often “prove” illogical or incoherent propositions. This part of the act is generally characterized as a nightmare. If the horse has demonstrated a particularly impossible or unthinkable proposition, such as the possibility of division by zero or the non divinity of Christ, some audience members may object strenuously that they are dreaming or themselves hypnotized, to which the horse may reply mockingly in the voice of their father. It is about this time that calls upon the Grand Master himself to stop this outrage become universal. The Grand Master, it must be noted, has been stiff and wholly motionless for the duration of the act. Spirited theatre goers who further swarm the stage are advised that upon approaching the Grand Master they are likely to be surprised by his stiff and irregular appearance, only to discover upon closing, that the figure in a tuxedo is little more than a scarecrow and the gilded theatre, little more than an empty field at night. The wind blows. You are naked. The horse stands there. You have never seen one before. The horse regards you. It snorts and flicks its tail to ask: who are you? But you have no words at all to reply.

TURN #77: WEEK 63; WORDS: 66,933