Gulliver’s Travels famously took Lemuel Gulliver to Lilliput, but also to a variety of other strange destinations. On the flying island of Laputa, for example, he found that important people required “Flappers” to alert them to everyday things: “[A Flapper is] employed diligently to attend his Master in his Walks, and upon Occasion to give him a soft Flap on his Eyes; because he is always so wrapped up in Cogitation, that he is in manifest Danger of falling down every Precipice, and bouncing his Head against every Post.” Similarly, a Flapper is needed to gently prod at the mouth and ears of conversing gentry, to keep the conversation flowing.
Of course it was the flappers, not the aristocracy, who held all the real power in Laputa, by filtering what could and could not be said or heard.
So Sneak assumes that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is not big on reading the classics: “I always see a write-up from my assistant of any email from companies that aren't on my permission list, or individuals I don't know,” Gates told Fortune magazine this month. “That way I know what people are praising us for, what they are complaining about, and what they are asking.”
Flap, flap, flap.
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