CAMBRIDGE, MA (AIP) – Researchers at Harvard University were forced by a new Massachusetts state law on Monday to put an end to an experiment they’ve been engaged in for the past 87 years, 13 years shy of their goal. Many in the Department of Clinical Literary Research are disappointed.
“For the past 87 years we’ve been attempting to prove the theory that 100 monkeys with 100 typewriters could produce the complete works of Shakespeare in 100 years,” said Dr. Rakesh Patel, lead scientist in the experiment. “This new state law restricting the use of animals for research projects other than vivisection has brought this experiment to a screeching halt. It’s really a loss for literary researchers everywhere.”
Although thwarted in its goal to produce the complete Shakespearian catalogue, the experiment was not without some success.
“In 1968 one of our monkeys, Number 87, did produce the line ‘tobeornot’, which excited the whole team a great deal,” said Patel. “We thought we had finally made a breakthrough, but then things dried up.”
There have been low points through the years. In the late 1990’s several of the primates complained of writer’s block, while roughly 20 percent became raving alcoholics and at least two began using cocaine
“They’d get drunk in the evening and bitch about the fact that no one understood them,” said Patel. “We sent 14 of the monkeys to Betty Ford, but we had to let go of six who refused treatment. They kept saying that they didn’t have a problem.”
Amazingly, in early 2001, one monkey, Number 31, produced an exact copy of the first six chapters of the novel 50 Shades of Grey. In 2010 a primate duo, Numbers 16 and 42, typed out Al Gore’s bleak poem about climate change from his book Our Choice - a plan to solve the climate crisis.
“A few years back one of the monkeys typed up that song Baby by Justin Bieber,” said Patel. “And we did get a complete copy of Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but there were some typos.”
The end of the program means that Harvard scientists will have to find new homes for the monkeys.
“Number 12 has accepted the Writer in Residence post at the University of Michigan,” said Patel. “Numbers 49 and 96 have signed at deal with Paramount to ink the next Tom Cruise movie and Number has been hired as a staff writer for The View.”