Meyran Kraus

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Original text in yellow, anagram in pink.

'The Aristocrats', a 2005 documentary produced by illusionist Penn Jillette, deals with the similarly titled joke which has become a favourite within comedian circles. The weak punchline is a constant, but hardly the point; the strength of the joke comes from the many crude details each comedian comes up with, which always differ but are bound to be tasteless as well as liberating. The film itself lets dozens of comics, some well-known, air their very own version.
Below is the mildest version I could find on the web [for one of the absolute worst in existence, google 'aristocrats ruthless reviews', though you really shouldn't even if you have the stomach], anagrammed into 3 renditions of the joke in different styles...

A family, consisting of a father, mother, son, daughter and a dog, walks into a talent agent's office and asks the agent to represent them. The agent asks what they do, and the family demonstrates, breaking into acts of perversion that usually include scatology, bestiality, incest, sadomasochism and fountains of bodily fluids. When the act wraps up, the dumbfounded talent agent says, "That's horrible. It's disgusting. I've never seen anything like it. What do you call yourselves?" The father proudly answers, "The Aristocrats!"

(Final stages of a mystery novel)
Detective Gates paced across the foyer and halted to stare at the family standing in front of him in flashy attire. At last, he began. "So many truths the late Lady McGinty kept... The twins' tabu affair and Lisa's kid with cousin Sven, not to mention what Gustaf did to his sister... But ultimately, she was poisoned by Dunken - her own son... and lover."
Gates shook his head. "What nauseating group could result to such deranged debauchery?"
After a long silence, the son finally spoke. "Aristocrats, Mr. Gates."

(Love sonnet)
Aha, such pain to win a kiss from thee!
A giggle first and later a retreat...
I find the taunts suggest duality;
On love's decree, thine inmost wants compete.
This game is like a stuffy family
That tuts and hisses icily at scandals,
Yet after dark acts so unlawfully
To even daunt a gang of bulky vandals.
And so I'd ask of thee, oh pretty rose -
Accept anew desire as thine own;
No longer don a high and mighty pose
But let the hidden, feisty form be shown.
Ah, do not try to crush the inner brats -
They must go bad... as all aristocrats.

(Monty Python sketch)
A man named Stoat (Palin) walks in an office and sits in front of a clerk (Cleese).
Stoat: Hello. Deer, is it?
Deer: Yes.
Stoat: Bren Stoat, Gags and Guffs and Funny Stuff.
Deer: None of that, please. How may I help you?
Stoat: I've this act that's missing a punch.
Deer: Huh. Will that act have bigamy?
Stoat: Yes.
Deer: Criminal congress?
Stoat: Yes.
Deer: Savage buggering?
Stoat: Oh, yes.
Deer: Thank you. Mrs. Gull?
An old lady (Idle) unfolds a vest with "The Aristocrats" knitted on it. A stout fighter runs in and beats her down with a halibut.

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In Chapter 1 of 'Through the Looking Glass', Alice comes across the first verse of the poem 'Jabberwocky' in a book. However, this being a looking-glass book, she reads this verse in reverse. I've decided to anagram this verse with regard to Lewis Carroll's nonsensical poetry.

This time, inspired by its looking-glass origin, the ambigram is of a mirror variety - each line of the anagram is an exact reflection of the corresponding line of the Jabberwocky verse. It's preceded by the text form; as before, the acquaintance with the text is integral as ambigramming whole sentences leaves very little space between words.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

It might be gibberish to most
Yet brave, they all tend to agree:
How mad and droll a verse engrossed
With lingual whims may be!

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**Warning** Nothing rude in the anagram, but it's of a disturbing nature.

On an Infant Dying as Soon as Born
Charles Lamb

I saw where in the shroud did lurk
A curious frame of Nature's work.
A flow'ret crushed in the bud,
A nameless piece of Babyhood,
Was in a cradle-coffin lying;
Extinct, with scarce the sense of dying;
So soon to exchange the imprisoning womb
For darker closets of the tomb!
She did but ope an eye, and put
A clear beam forth, then strait up shut
For the long dark: ne'er more to see
Through glasses of mortality.

Riddle of destiny, who can show
What thy short visit meant, or know
What thy errand here below?
Shall we say, that Nature blind
Check'd her hand, and changed her mind,
Just when she had exactly wrought
A finish'd pattern without fault?
Could she flag, or could she tire,
Or lack'd she the Promethean fire
(With her nine moons' long workings sicken'd)
That should thy little limbs have quicken'd?
Limbs so firm, they seem'd to assure
Life of health, and days mature:
Woman's self in miniature!
Limbs so fair, they might supply
(Themselves now but cold imagery)
The sculptor to make Beauty by.
Or did the stern-eyed Fate descry,
That babe, or mother, one must die;
So in mercy left the stock,
And cut the branch; to save the shock
Of young years widow'd; and the pain,
When Single State comes back again
To the lone man who, 'reft of wife,
Thenceforward drags a maimed life?
The economy of Heaven is dark;
And wisest clerks have miss'd the mark,
Why Human Buds, like this, should fall,
More brief than fly ephemeral,
That has his day; while shrivel'd crones
Stiffen with age to stocks and stones;
And crabbed use the conscience sears
In sinners of an hundred years.

Mother's prattle, mother's kiss,
Baby fond, thou ne'er wilt miss.
Rites, which custom does impose,
Silver bells and baby clothes;
Coral redder than those lips,
Which pale death did late eclipse;
Music framed for infants' glee,
Whistle never tuned for thee;
Though thou want'st not, thou shalt have them,
Loving hearts were they which gave them.
Let not one be missing; nurse,
See them laid upon the hearse
Of infant slain by doom perverse.
Why should kings and nobles have
Pictured trophies to their grave;
And we, churls, to thee deny
Thy pretty toys with thee to lie,
A more harmless vanity?

Sleepy
(Based on a short story by Anton Chekhov)

A shoddy lantern lights the scene.
It's twenty after two o'clock
And nurse-maid Varka, aged thirteen,
Can hardly make the cradle rock.

Her eyelids droop, her fingers slip;
Sleep beckons, but she won't succumb.
Reminded of her master's whip,
She carries on her drowsy hum:

'Oh hush, my little baby, hush
So tender dreams come in a rush.'


The child is crying constantly.
As if bewitched, he won't calm down.
The hollers blend into a sea
In which poor Varka drifts and drowns...

She fights to rifle through the mist
And stumbles on a new display:
A crowd of nomads who persist
To wade along the muddy way.

And suddenly, the vagrants fall
Into the mud, two-inches deep.
"Oh - what's that rite for?", Varka calls.
"To sleep!", they answer her, "To sleep!"

A change of scene - she's in her hut.
Her father's twitching on the floor,
His fists are clenched, his eyes are shut.
A body no man can restore.

Her mother weeps, and by the door
The doctor frowns and seeks his horse.
A fright fills Varka's very core,
It hits her with a stunning force -

She's smacked and wakes. Her master fumes.
"Fie! Nodding off, you wretched thing?"
And in the window - daybreak looms,
To bode dull chores the morning brings:

To boil the tea and wipe the plates,
To fix the fence and mend a vest.
But no command can truly grate -
They get the mind off peaceful rest...

Her neck's quite stiff. Her temples throb.
She chuckles oft, though knows not why.
She calmly labors through each job
Until the day's last embers die.

The crib awaits at dinnertime.
The wee one airs his wail and moan
But now, the lines of Varka's rhyme
Are uttered in a blunted tone:

'Oh hush, my little baby, hush
So bitter dreams come in a rush.'


A flood of thoughts drives Varka mad:
Those drifters on the muddy way;
Her weeping mom and beaten dad;
A lifetime full of vile dismay.

What's keeping Varka tightly bound?
It nettles her; it taunts her so,
Until the simple answer's found.
It's him. The baby is the foe.

Ambition fuels her wearied pace:
One final chore to execute.
A pillow meets the infant's face,
Until the vicious foe is mute.

Then, as exhaustion overcomes,
She's more than willing to comply...
The room goes dim as Varka hums
Her slowly fading lullaby.

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Updated: May 10, 2016


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