We come now to the end of Arthur Claude Munyan’s mysterious rant, On Beards And Evolution. Munyan’s rant does include the insulting notion that some peoples — not white people, of course — might have extraterrestrial genes. If you don’t need that racist nonsense in your recreational reading, you are right, and we’ll catch up next week when I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m enjoying digging out old Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction of mine even if I come across jokes that I now regret. (For example, here, a pretty cheap shot at individuals who might “have extraterrestrial genetic material”.)
If you do decide to finish this fanfic, though, it’s got some of my favorite goofy riffs, particularly the set of science fiction stories. You should always be suspicious of jokes you love a little too much, but that exchange? Even the weaker lines in that are great lines and I won’t hear otherwise. The bit in the closing sketch about “authentic interviews” is also an adjective-noun combination that keeps making me smile.
Dr Alan Chartok and Steve Kmetko were Albany (New York) local news personalities in the late 90s/early 2000s. I don’t know where they now are. Gurmit Singh is a Singaporean comic actor. Madonna is someone I was startled to learn is from Bay City, Michigan because I just assumed she was from New Jersey. Doesn’t she seem like someone who’d be from New Jersey? Right? Also back then we all just thought it was merry fun to mock Michael Jackson like that and I regret that now. I don’t believe Zheng He’s armada circumnavigated the world, but I accept for the purposes of making a joke that it might have been able to. The riff about where the Ancient Egyptians are today is adapted from a Robert Benchley line about Napoleon. Please also appreciate how I really nailed the quirks of the History Channel of the late 90s.
All four parts of this MiSTing should be at this tag. If you’d rather read them in order here is the first part, and this link is the second, and here’s the third part. The fourth and final part starts … now.
> An interesting and related note is that the Egyptians used to
> harbor an incredible revulsion for facial hair.
JOEL: Oh, sure, I can see how that’s related — huh?
> Many of them would
> depilate their entire bodies, pencil in their eyebrows, and wear
> elaborate wigs made of human hair or wool.
CROW: Yeah, and just look where the ancient Egyptians are today.
> Indeed, much of the wisdom of the ancients became lost with the
> advent of later civilizations.
TOM: So they gave up Zheng He’s armada capable of circumnavigating the world, but they got to shave.
> I shall now come to the final phase of my theory.
CROW: I’m going to grow a beard and see if I get dumber.
> For the past
> several years, I have become personally involved in a body of
> research which points to the possibility of the existence of
> extraterrestrial aliens.
[ ALL burst out laughing. ]
TOM: I was afraid the theory was going to be silly!
> I have read extensively the works of such
> noted scholars in the field as Dr. John Mack, David Jacobs, Whitley
> Strieber, and Budd Hopkins.
JOEL: Plus a couple Piers Anthony things for flavor.
TOM: H. G. Wells’s “The Shave Of Things To Come”!
CROW: Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever Wax”!
> While reviewing the vast number of sketches that have been made
> of these alien beings, whether you want to believe they’re real,
JOEL: Fred Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth’s “The Moustache Plague”!
CROW: Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Perm”!
TOM: Cordwainder Smith’s “Alpha Ralpha Barbershop”!
> imagined, or intentionally fabricated, one common denominator among
> them stands out.
CROW: E. M. Forster’s “The Machine Crops”!
TOM: James Blish’s “Surface Tonsure”!
JOEL: Douglas Adams’s “Salon, and Thanks For All the Fish”!
> Out of all these sketches, not one of them depicts an alien
> wearing a beard.
[ ALL laugh again. ]
JOEL: Nor do they depict aliens playing T-ball, does that mean T-ball shouldn’t exist?
CROW: No, and the failure of depictions of aliens to show them paying the electric bill indicates power companies are doomed!
TOM: It is abundantly clear that aliens never wear bunny slippers! I am adjusting my lifestyle to compensate!
> Not one.
CROW: Actually, the ones in “Cocoon” are *all* beard.
> I believe that there may very well be a connection between these
> alien beings and the Mongolian race.
TOM: They are all connected in the great Circle of Goofiness.
> A careful study of these
> sketches reveals that these beings resemble the Mongolian race to a
> greater extent than the other races.
CROW: If you kinda squint.
JOEL: I’ve noticed as well aliens are never depicted painting houses, spackling drywall, or replacing window trim. This bodes ill for the future of odd-jobs workers!
> The most obvious similarity is
> that both tend to exhibit a sloping pattern to their foreheads.
TOM: Unless you’re on Star Trek, when it’s where they put bumps.
> A more significant similarity is that they both appear to
> exhibit a trait which is clearly indigenous to the Mongolian race.
JOEL: Jellyfish ready for barbecue.
TOM: Come to think of it, aliens never stop off at Burger King. You know what this means!
> This trait is known as the "epicanthal fold."
CROW: Hey, you can’t say “epicanthal.”
> This is a biological
> trait that accounts for the distinctive shape of the eyes that
> Asiatic people possess. This same trait also appears evident in
> many the alien sketches I have studied.
TOM: Case closed.
CROW: Notice, too, no depictions of extraterrestrials feature them picking up jumbo boxes of Cheez-Its at Kmart. This is why the retailer’s emergence from bankruptcy is a waste of effort!
> Could it be that the Mongolian race is our closest genetic human
> link to these extraterrestrial beings?
CROW: How many humans have extraterrestrial genetic material?
JOEL: At a guess, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Gurmit Singh, and Doctor Alan Chartok.
> I don’t know. We are
> probably eons away from finding out.
JOEL: Longer, if we hit the red lights.
> However, the physical similarities between the Mongolian race
> and the alien sketches I have studied are compelling enough to
> warrant further investigation in this direction.
TOM: How, by watching more “Space Kidettes” cartoons until a new breakthrough shows up?
JOEL: I have observed that space aliens almost never play Monopoly.
> As stated earlier,
TOM: Was this before or after beards won the Thirty Years War?
> members of the Mongolian race wear beards to
> a lesser frequency and of lesser thickness than do males of any
> other race.
CROW: Including the 10-K fun-run.
> If the sketches of the extraterrestrial aliens I have
> seen are any indication, they don’t appear to wear beards at all.
TOM: So if you see a man without a beard, he’s probably an alien.
JOEL: It occurs to me now that there are no depictions of aliens who eat cold canned ravioli, so shape up! You know who you are.
> The implications facing modern men today should now be obvious.
CROW: I’m in way over my head.
> In my considered opinion,
JOEL: I’m glad he considered this. If he just posted off the top of his head he might’ve said something goofy and embarassing.
> these advanced beings are trying to
> tell us something.
TOM: They’re telling us to point and snicker at him.
> In keeping with the spirit of the new millenium,
CROW: We must abandon our music boxes, to live up to the standards of the aliens who never play them!
> I propose that
> bearded men everywhere surrender to the will of evolution and follow
> their example by shaving them off.
JOEL: But the example of bearded men is wearing beards.
TOM:Our shining new future: Short, pudgy, hairless, big-eyed entities with no way to differentiate between individuals!
> Our cooperation will surely facilitate the evolutionary pattern
> that our Creator,
[ CROW, TOM stare at JOEL. ]
> in His divine wisdom,
[ CROW, TOM snicker. ]
JOEL: Don’t start, you two.
> has set in motion for the
> future course of human civilization.
CROW: Under the petty totalitarianism of high school principals.
JOEL: This guy’s his own sort of Woolly Bully.
> Arthur Claude Munyan, Sr.
TOM: Not to be taken internally.
CROW: “Arthur Claude Munyan”? That’s not a name, that’s a minor Charles Dickens character.
CROW: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.
JOEL: [ Picking up TOM ] Not a minute too soon.
TOM: What of the aliens, who never watch Steve Kmetko?
CROW: We don’t care.
[ ALL exit. ]
[ 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… ]
[ SATELLITE OF LOVE DESK. GYPSY, CROW, JOEL, and TOM SERVO are there. ]
JOEL: Hello. I’m Sam Waterston, and you’re watching the Arthur Claude Munyan History Channel.
[ CAMBOT puts up a yellow serifed `MH’ in a circle, covering most of the screen, for a moment. ]
JOEL: If you just joined us you’ve missed “The Moustache That Never Was,” the incredible true story of how British intelligence diverted the Germans away from the invasion of Sicily by planting facial hair on the body of a “drowned” British courier.
CROW: I’m David Aykroyd, and you can catch it again at 11:00 tonight. Coming up next, “Barbershops of the Third Reich” explores how a chance allergic reaction to that blue liquid foiled a plot which could have ended the war in 1942.
GYPSY: And now an Arthur Claude Munyan History Channel Moment.
[ ALL stand stand silent for a few seconds. JOEL holds his breath. ]
GYPSY: This has been an Arthur Claude Munyan History Channel Moment.
TOM: I’m Roger Daltrey. On Civil War Journal we explore to what extent was General George Thomas mislead by his follicles? You’ll find out at midnight in “The Tweezer of Chickamauga.”
JOEL: Tomorrow at ten we use authentic interviews, amazing dramatic re-creations and actual computer analysis to help solve the greatest crime of the 20th century. Tune in to see “The Men Who Shaved Kennedy.”
CROW: All this and more on the Arthur Claude Munyan History Channel!
[ CAMBOT puts the `MH’ logo back up, for a moment. ]
GYPSY: Let’s all be there!
JOEL: What do you think, sirs?
[ DEEP 13. DR. FORRESTER and TV’s FRANK are crouched on the ground and studying a random patch of it closely. ]
DR. F: Yes, yes, all well and good, Joel, now just hold a second.
FRANK: Here it comes!
DR. F: And there’s the one at platform C!
FRANK: And A and B are pulling up!
DR. F: We got it, man! All four platforms!
[ They high-five each other. ]
DR. F: Ssh! Ssh! We have to savor this.
[ They both pause, listening. ]
FRANK: We did really build something, right?
[ DR. FORRESTER glares at TV’s FRANK for a second. ]
DR. F: Push the button already.
[ TV’s FRANK leans over, reaching out of camera. DR. FORRESTER looks directly at the camera. ]
DR. F: Well, folks … goodnight.
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Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the characters and situations therein are the property of Best Brains, Inc. The essay “On Beards and Evolution” is the property of Arthur Claude Munyan, Sr. This MiSTing as a whole is the creation of Joseph Nebus, who intends no particular ill-will towards Arthur Claude Munyan, Mystery Science Theater 3000, or the History Channel. All beards used in this MiSTing were fictional and any resemblance to actual beards, whether living or shorn, is entirely coincidental. I’m pretty sure that model subways already exist, but the idea I find funny enough to use as an Invention Exchange even though it is so visually boring. When in Singapore be sure to enjoy the shiny new North-East Line, which is fully automated and has windows on the front and back cars, so you can stand there and pretend you’re the engineer. Come back, Dr. Mike Neylon!
> Out of all these sketches, not one of them depicts an alien
> wearing a beard.