All Your Base Are Belong To Us (Literary Criticism)

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Aybabtu

Selected by Oprah's book club.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us is one of the finest examples of the short story art, but also one of the most ambiguous - finding its words hotly debated in most literary circles. It has been translated into many languages, including English, English-to-Spanish-to-English and I-put-it-through-all-possible-languages-in-the-world-on-Babelfish-because-I'm-cool. By special permission, we reproduce it here in its full, unedited (untranslated) form, and follow it with just a sample of the many interpretations made of it over the years.

edit ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US

NARRATOR: IN A.D. 2101, WAR WAS BEGINNING.

CAPTAIN: WHAT HAPPEN ?

MECHANIC: SOMEBODY SET UP US THE BOMB.

OPERATOR: WE GET SIGNAL.

CAPTAIN: WHAT !!

OPERATOR: MAIN SCREEN TURN ON.

CAPTAIN: IT'S YOU !!

CATS: HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN !!

CATS: ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

CATS: YOU ARE ON THE WAY TO DESTRUCTION.

CAPTAIN: WHAT YOU SAY !!

CATS: YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.

CATS: HA HA HA HA ....

OPERATOR: CAPTAIN !!

CAPTAIN: TAKE OFF EVERY 'ZIG' !!

CAPTAIN: YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DOING.

CAPTAIN: MOVE 'ZIG'.

CAPTAIN: FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

edit Feminist perspective

Opinions are divided as to whether to see this as the espousing of chauvinist ideals, or as a staunch feminist treatise. At a first glance, it appears to be about war and destruction, and this leads us towards the idea that it must be about men. However, the author has left several important clues that show us it uses the erotically charged rivalry between technicolor haired young men at war as a safer proxy for a young audience of school girls to explore their culturally repressed sexuality through metaphor and allegory to avoid censorship. First, the naming of a character after cats, creatures often identified with feminine traits, is very revealing. Cats could be seen as the female fighting a newly beginning "war" against male oppression - she makes a point of saying "Gentlemen" to indicate that she is talking specifically to the men. She tells these men they are on the way to destruction if they continue on their current path of self-aggrandizement, and attempts to appeal to their egos by telling them they have no chance to prevent this. Finally, the "Captain" sees the light and orders the removal of all "Zigs". Current theory suggests that the Zig was a kind of chastity belt. As yet, it is unknown what the bases are that Cats says belong to women, but with the right funding we are confident we can work it out.

edit War Historian's perspective

This is an absolutely fascinating piece of historical text. We believe that in fact the date as shown on the story has been misquoted (or possibly it comes from another calendar system, it's hard to be sure). What is certain is that this text comes from first-hand accounts of one of the. Possibly 1066, or the Wars of the Roses, but certainly in the time since gunpowder was invented (since the text begins with somebody planting a bomb in the camp). What is most suggestive to me is the order: "Main screen turn on" - a line that has caused many to suggest this battle occurred after the invention of the computer. What they are overlooking is that turning screens have been around for a lot longer than that. My opinion is that the turning screen refers to a screen of warriors shields such as those used as a battle tactic by Roman soldiers. Since this tactic fell out of favour after the fall of the Roman Empire, I would suggest this dates the battle to Roman times. The Zig must be another battle formation - possibly involving moving backwards and forwards - it may even be the source of the word Zigzag - a fascinating theory if I do say so myself. Finally, the fact that the text is in somewhat broken English suggests it was transcribed by an English slave - suggesting that the British people may have been an important part of the world of historical reporting as far back as two thousand years ago.

edit Fundamentalist {Christian/Muslim/.../Pastafarian} perspective (delete as applicable)

The writer of this piece has clearly not found {Jesus/Allah/.../the Flying Spaghetti Monster}, and as such is lost in a heathen world of misunderstanding so total that he probably even thinks science is true. The {Vatican/local Mosque/.../Italian restaurant round the corner} tells you that you must not read this text, nor speak of it, and just to be on the safe side it's probably best if you don't even use any of the words in it ever again. Meanwhile, if you ever happen to meet the author of this work, feel free to {tell him repeatedly how he's going to hell/blow him up/.../recommend the noodles}.

edit Marxist perspective

All your bases belonging to us rather than kats individually suggests an international collective on the periphery of the ruling class, not a dictatorship. Kats body has been chiseled away piece by piece from harsh working conditions in the asteroid mines, the proletariat workers parts have been replaced by cybernetics making him literally a cog in the capitalist machine, drained of life. Gentlemen is a simplification by American censors, in the original Japanese version Kats clearly refers for the international capitalists as the bourgeois in mistranslated Russian. Thus All Your Base is more than a mere children's electronic game involving space planes, it is a subtle Japanese criticism of cold war policies made after the fall of the Berlin wall.

edit Mrs. Bilberry: Our Local Elderly Librarian's Perspective

NAME ME ONE OTHER WORK OF FICTION YOU'VE READ WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN ALL CAPS.

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