Cory Calhoun, Master Anagrammist

YouTube / Ars Magna
YouTube / Ars Magna / YouTube / Ars Magna

Cory Calhoun is a natural anagrammist: presented with a series of letters, he shuffles them to form new words. But unlike poor slobs like me who must use the Internet Anagram Server ("I, Rearrangement Servant") to figure out anagrams, Cory is master of the art and poetry of the anagram. His most famous anagram takes the first few lines of a famous soliloquy from Hamlet and effectively summarizes the play using an anagram of those lines. Here it is:

Original: To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. ... Cory Calhoun's Anagram: In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.

Right? I mean, that's amazing! Here's another anagram he cooked up, based on a Kurt Vonnegut quote:

Original (Vonnegut): Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn't mean we deserve to conquer the universe. Cory Calhoun's Anagram: A masquerade can cover a sense of what is real to deceive us; to be unjaded and not lost, we must, then, determine truth.

Here's a short film about Calhoun, highlighting some of his anagramming achievements. This is eight minutes of anagrammatic awesomeness; even its title (Ars Magna) is an anagram. Yes, that title is explained in the film.

You may note that Calhoun has a thing for anagramming presidential names, though this video only mentions Republican presidents. But he made a doozy related to Clinton, about halfway down The Anagram Hall of Fame page.

The film above is part of the 2013 PBS Online Film Festival. You can vote on your favorite if you like; note that the second step about submitting your email address is skippable.