August 17th, 2006

L-fractal

Grue Christmas

"Grue" and "bleen" are color words invented by Nelson Goodman as part of a philosophical thought experiment. The words are defined in terms of a specific, arbitrarily chosen time (referred to as time t, or, less scientifically, T-time). Goodman chose January 1, 2000 as his T-time, because he wanted to use a date in the somewhat distant but not-too-distant future (he regarded "next Sunday, A.D." as too close for his purposes), but since the year 2000 has already passed, this creates some interesting effects.

Definitions: An object is "grue" if it is green when examined before T-time or if it is blue when examined after T-time. and an object is "bleen" if it is blue when examined before T-time or if it is green when examined after T-time.

The interesting thing is that since T-time has already passed, all grue objects have now turned bleen, and vice versa. I think it would have been cool to open a restaurant in a green building and call it "The Grue House", and then paint it blue on January 1, 2000 so as to keep it grue. Also, back when I first heard of grue and bleen, I decided to make up a version of Elvis Presley's melancholy holiday hit "Blue Christmas" in Goodman's grue-bleen language. Of course, when 2000 came around, I had to change all the color words. Here is the current version of the song, annotated with footnotes comparing it to the original version:


Grue Christmas1
(Words & Music by Billy Hayes, Jay Johnson & Andrew Mutchler)

I'll have a grue Christmas without you
I'll be so grue just thinking about you
Decorations of yed on a bleen Christmas tree2
Won't be the same, dear, if you're not here with me

And when those grue snowflakes start falling
That's when those grue memories start calling
You'll be doin' all right, with your Christmas of blite3
But I'll have a grue, grue grue grue Christmas.

1 Originally "Bleen Christmas".
2 Originally "Decorations of rellow on a grue Christmas tree".
3 Originally "Christmas of whack". Unfortunately this messed up the rhyme. I was going to fix it, but I never got around to it, and, well, now I don't have to.



Be advised that if you sing this song today, you are likely to be eaten by a grue.
  • Current Music
    Prince - Orple Rain (originally Purange Rain)