Ask The Fiddler #15: Which Way Is Up?

Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.

Dear Fiddler:

Aren’t people in Australia afraid of falling off the Earth, seeing as they’re upside down?

Arnold in Ypsilanti

Dear Arnold,

Yes. Worrying about that is why they drink so much beer. Australians are very grateful for gravity. According to a site designed for the education of young minds, gravity is the glue that holds everyone in place on Earth.

boblarkin1982-200Gravity aside, is it a true fact that Australians are upside down? You probably don’t think often about the meaninglessness of up and down in space terms. In space, which, surprise, is where Earth hangs out, those concepts have no meaning, nothing is up or down.

So, where are things in space? Who knows, maybe “over there”?

Well, all you have to do is look at a globe, it’s plain as the nose on your face. People in Australia are upside down in relation to people in, say, New York City. If the Earth is a sphere, obviously Australians falling off would fall down, right?

But that has to be a mistake because to an Australian, up isn’t down, the stars aren’t down, they’re up. So news reports of Australians falling off the Earth — based on observation of reliable witnesses — would have to say they fell up. To an Australian, as to intelligent people everywhere, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Why not just check a map? We can easily see up and down on maps. Unfortunately maps are a hoax, a fiction invented by cartographers. “The map is not the territory” was a metaphoric slogan of semanticist Alfred Korzybski, but it has practical application here.

It’s kind of hard to get your head around it, but, scientifically, a map where Australia was up would be an okay thing. Up-down-north-south-etc., don’t really exist.

The great thinker Buckminster Fuller tried to set matters straight with his Dymaxion map. He informed us that up and down in conventional mapping are nothing more than a cultural bias.

As for gravity, which is such a big help to Australians, it seems a generally accepted scientific concept. But couldn’t it just be centrifugal force that holds us in place? Like, if we’re revolving at a thousand mph and traveling around the sun at 67,000 mph, it must be that we’re held in place by a lot of pressure.

Think about it, that’s a hell of a lot more force than you experience doing zero to sixty in 2.4 seconds in your Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. And you know how that pins you to the seat.

However, wouldn’t you know it, science says centrifugal force is a fiction.

edge_of_the_world-200In fairness we should mention there are those who think their senses make sense, what you see is what you get. So, some people see the earth as flat and gravity as hypothetical. Here is a guy who argues forcefully against knowledge as we know it.

And we can’t overlook the Creationist viewpoint. With pictures of the edge of the Earth! Be sure to show your support for Brother Alex, he needs it.

In a way, like the flat earth guy, given how science flips and flops with its theories, doesn’t it make sense to believe only what you experience? How do you know anything other than what you really know?

So, is it even possible to experience falling up? Sort of, at least temporarily.

One way of experiencing falling up is indoor skydiving. Even though it is called diving, you can “dive” up.

Another close approximation of falling up would be the human cannonball tactic, again a temporary experience. Caution is advised, despite the bravado inspired by a quart or two of Australian lager. You could find the true meaning of the phrase “Going out in a blaze of glory.”

But of course AOTP readers will exercise mature caution when launching themselves skyward. “Your calculations need to be exact,” says an expert.

Yours truly,

The Fiddler

Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.

images: Fred Seibert; Brother Alex

The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III