History, Humour, On This Day, Reading, Writing

Happy birthday, old sport.

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It’s the hundredth day of 2019: do you know where your literary anniversaries are? April 10th, 1925 was the first day of publication for a classic American novella that went on to be adapted into motion pictures, theatrical productions, radio plays, ballets, computer games, and even an opera.

In addition to this novella’s many adaptations, it also inspired two follow-up novels, one a reverse-gender retelling and the other a sequel set decades after the events of the original.

Yes, today marks the first day of The Great Gatsby’s 94th year of publication, and MGB Editorial is proud to present an interview with that great literary critic, a malfunctioning robotic version of Mark Twain.*

MGB: Hello, thanks for agreeing to take this interview. I imagine that as a robot programmed to think and act like Mark Twain that you must—

Mark Twain Robot: —I am TwainTron 1899. I have unique literary insights.

MGB: —have unique literary insights.

TT1899: Who’s running this interview, b—b—b—son?

MGB: (Laughs) Anyway, what do you think of Fitzgerald’s 20th-century classic? As a robotic version of a 19th-century author, did you find the text disorienting at all?

TT1899: Fitzgerald’s “modern” approach to writing left me stroking my strong aluminum chin. Not a character among the bunch who I wanted to pass a day with, but I found myself questioning my core literary programming as I slogged through paragraph after paragraph. It is no joy keeping company with uncouth folk, and I didn’t care for Tom, Daisy, Nick, or Gatsby.

MGB: I see, so you took issue with the unpleasantness of the characters, dialogue, and plot?

TT1899: Isn’t that what I just said, son? Yes, at first I was disgusted but I confess that my pressurized steam cylinder was running low when I started reading. After a short steam and a long cigar, I came back to the succinct novella and tried again. This time I found that the gritty reality of the characters acted as a mask for all of their personal frailties, each one pulled along like a wooden raft by a current of dishonesty caused by human weakness.

MGB: That’s surprisingly poetic.

TT1899: Well, malfunctioning robotic version or otherwise, I am Mark Twai—CATASTROPHIC STEAM BUILDUP IN CYLINDER J-VII! PLEASE EVACUATE THE IMMEDIATE AREA!

MGB: (shouting over 19th-century alarms) Well, it looks like that’s all the time we have today! This is Michael Bedford wishing you a happy April 10th and wishing The Great Gatsby a happy 94th birthday! I think that TwainTron1899’s critique was right on the money, so I’ll just say, Gatsby, old sport, may your future film adaptations be less ironically overproduced than your most recent!

*Due to extreme intoxication, a malfunctioning robotic version of F. Scott Fitzgerald was unavailable for comment.

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