fiction by Arnold Baruch
Preliminary sketches for
(after reading his biography)
To: Steven Spielberg;
From: Arnie Baruch;
Date: August 4, 2002. . . . . .
Steve, sweetheart! Just a rough draft of some ideas, but everyone here is very excited! This Wittgenstein! Just read his biography! An intellectual icon for the 21st century: deep, intuitive -- and still a funny guy! And there's the gay angle! What's your take? I'm thinking Scorcese directing, Tom Cruise as Wittgenstein ?? Capo! Let's do cappucinos!
WITTGENSTEIN: Ach, all zis noise! I cannot think! Und I am so scared! Yet I must be strong because I know zat "my conscience is the Voice of Gott!"1916 - World War One: a nighttime observation post of the German Army. Sounds of cannon and gunfire. The gray face of an artillery spotter, lit by flashes, materializes out of the fog.
Oh look! Behind zat big rock! Zere are a bunch of der lustful, carefree, Italianische boys! Ya, Central Kommand?! I have observed ze irrational Italian enemy! You vill shoot zem!
Zere! Ve haff blown off zere arms. Zis iss goot! Now vere vass I? Oh yes. One must not speak zat vich is inherently unzpeakable, und never assume zat vich cannot be confirmed empirically - but vy can't anyvone understand my ideas?!!
FRANCIS: Ach, Ludwig, I must haff you now, tomorrow, all ze time!1935 - Ludwig's rooms at Cambridge. Francis, Ludwig's lover, kneels before him as Ludwigs sits morosely on the bed.
WITTGENSTEIN: Silence! Ve are both sinful, dirty brutes, my darling Frankie boy. Listen carefully! I'm getting tired uff you. You vill go to ze German factories und get to know ze real vorking men! You vill work on ze mainscrews. Zey must be perfect! You vill polish ze mainscrews over und over -- up und down. Up und down!
FRANCIS: Stop, Luddy! I'm getting excited! Ach, I cannot bear for us to be apart, but I vill do it, mine Luddypug! But please! Let's clean your room together vunce more! I'll get ze wet tea leaves to put on ze floor....
WITTGENSTEIN: Silence! You vill now beat me mit zis vhip! Don't you know? I am 3/4 Jewish! I can't run from it any more -- I must be honest! But verdammit, as a Jew, it is logically impossible for me to haff von original thought! Look at zat Jewish plagiarizer Freud! (ach! ouch! -- harder, Frankie, harder!) Vat about Einstein? (ouch! good! -- harder!) Einstein has no originality at all! Ach! zat iss good! OH GOTT, VY MUST I BE ZE PHILOSOPHER?!! Maybe I vill go to Russia und work in ze fields! Zee you later Frankie-pankie!
FRANCIS: Auf wiederzein, Ludwig-pudwig!
WITTGENSTEIN: Now look here, mine herr! -- mine zisters und I aren't verdammit Jews, I tell you! Ve don't look Jewish, do ve? Look at zis cute little nose, zis cruel German zmile! You must recognize our Deutchblutig! Mine zisters vant to kick back in Wein und enjoy ze Third Reich.1939 - Berlin: The Office of Racial Integrity Verification. A Nazi official reclines arrogantly in his chair behind a huge desk, a thin cigarette poised in his left hand. Ludwig, now a middle-aged philosopher, paces nervously back and forth in front of the desk.
NAZI OFFICIAL: Vell, Luddy, you don't qvite look Jewish to me. But your family is very rich. Ze true German vill gif everysing to der Fuherer. Ze Jews vill hold on to zer money to ze death. You know vat ze American Jew, Jack Benny said when ze thief tells him "Your money or your life?"
WITTGENSTEIN: Ya, ya, he said, "Vait a minute! I'm thinking!" Okay, Mr. Nazi Official, how about I kick in one metric ton of gold down for Der Fuehrer? Zat's nearly two per cent of Austria's gold reserves.
NAZI OFFICIAL: Don't hurt your toe zere vith your kicking. Make zat 1.7 metric tons, I'll see vat I can do. By za vay, I vas vondering, do you know vere I can get zome good onion und garlic bagels?
WITTGENSTEIN: Zis is no problem, Commandant. However, it is logically impossible to discuss ze hole in ze bagel, as ve haff no empirical...
NAZI OFFICIAL: It's okay, Luddy-puddy. I vant 12 onion, 12 garlic und 12 of ze "everyzing" bagels. Now GET OUT!
SCENE FOURWITTGENSTEIN: Ach, I am dying! Zis is goot. All my life I zuffered und I vas miserable every day. However, I have made zeveral major contributions to modern mathematics und philosophy. I am certain of zis, because ze opposite of zis statement, namely, "I have not made several major contributions to modern mathematics und philosophy," is incomprehensible. Zo, goodbye cruel vorld. Ach, I really don't feel so hot today.1951 - Wittgenstein's deathbed at Storey's End, in England.Steve! I'm getting chills! It's Jim Carrey! Yes, of course! The perfect Wittgenstein for the 21st Century. Lots of physical comedy and rolling of the eyes. And plenty of special effects to illustrate the more difficult metaphysical and mathematical points. Wait! "Wittgenstein II!!!" It's a musical! The aging David Bowie in a funky, fin-du-siecle pageant to logical positivism. Jimmy Carter as a kind of lustful, Faulknerian Bertrand Russell. Demi Moore as the Ghost of Princess Diana! I'm on a roll! No, wait! Cream cheese on a roll! Expressionist Expresso! I need a massage RIGHT NOW! Have your girl call my girl!He dies. Music up.
(No answer from Steven Spielberg as of yet.)
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