Yoko Ono, Jim Henson, Ayn Rand and Sidney Nolan walk into a bar…

This transcript is the shiniest gem the internet has offered me in a long time.

17 April 1976 – The transcript presented here records a conversation between four figures from the broad spectrum of culture: puppeteer Jim Henson; Russian-American writer, philosopher and playwright Ayn Rand; painter Sidney Nolan; and artist and musician Yoko Ono. A few months after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, The Agency’s tests with the ARPANET convened these four individuals, each with a distinct sense of, as well as the potential means for, a competing world-view.

It’s like one of those imaginary conversations in Heaven, but it actually occurred. You can click the link for the full transcript, but here are some of my favourites.

JIM HENSON: Each character is special for me they represent different aspects of myself. Kermit the frog is perhaps closest to me. An alter ego of sorts.

AYN RAND: What does that say about you.

SIDNEY NOLAN: Big laughs. He is exceptional.

JIM HENSON: I dont know. I don’t think too much about it.

YOKO ONO: My favourite is Big Bird. He is so tall and gentle.

AYN RAND: To be honest I find it to be senseless entertainment. I prefer the celebration of men and what they can achieve.

JIM HENSON: Do you have children Ms Rand.

AYN RAND: What do children have to do with what I prefer.

JIM HENSON: But there is always conflict.

YOKO ONO: But it does not have to be this way. Does your work Mr Henson not try to prove this?

JIM HENSON: No. Conflict is what defines my characters in many ways and how they respond to it.

YOKO ONO: I am surprised to be in such a conversation. It feels like a deliberate test.

SIDNEY NOLAN: I agree Jim. We should work together on a puppet saga about Ned Kelly. Sometime maybe. Who knows.

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