The Antipodes

UK and the Philippines: The Antipodes?

This story begins with a debt. And then a book launch: Lawrence Weschler’s Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences. And then a contest to celebrate that launch: A Convergence of Convergences. And among the finalists for the contest—too many to mention—I got a surprise.

The Antipodes by Chris Zic asserts that the United Kingdom and the Philippines look alike.

Compare their northern regions—look at Scotland, look at Luzon—two heads hanging heavy over two tapered necks. Look at all the islands everywhere. These maps might as well be two maps of the same place; one’s just been torn up into shreds by a frustrated apprentice cartographer who can’t ever seem to match the perfection of his master.

I’m not sure I agree with him, but the way Zic explained everything was just so eloquent that this country really seems to be a parallel world to that of the English. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, whose story intertwines two Englands, comes to mind.

Distorted through all that water, their country looks like a broken-up version of ours, a disjointed reflection in a broken mirror. And when the people in that broken England speak the language that we speak, they speak a broken English.

Particularly accurate, don’t you think?

This contest is a wonderful find. It’s provoking, amusing, and geeky, meaning it’s all right to point out unlikely patterns and juxtapose the supposedly non sequitur. (Don’t listen to the dumb old people is what I’m saying. The world is better off that way.) Convergences even lead to infinite loops and broken barriers—and that’s the most exciting part! I’d love to see what the book looks like.

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