This site is down.

Hi Everybody,

I hear tell that several people are upset that I have taken this Caligula site down. Several people. At last count the grand total was four, which gives me a solid indication of potential book sales.

Without going into details, rest semi-assured that there’s probably no need to worry. Yes, I may complete the long-feared 200 Degrees of Failure, though if I decide to I certainly won’t enjoy it. Until recently it was a blast to do the research. It was in early 1979 that I began digging into this movie that was cursed upon conception by malicious witches. In 2004 I began writing my researches into a book chapter, which was rejected, for which I thank the gods. Later in 2004 I began the process of turning my researches into a book proper. In 2006 I received a bundle of papers from the abandoned collection of Caligula’s producer, Franco Rossellini. (Ha! All these years you thought somebody else was the producer. Nope!) Unfortunately for me, the bulk of these papers were in Italian and French. That wouldn’t be so bad, as I can struggle through either written language (though certainly not the spoken languages). The problem was that these were in legal Italian and French, which are languages that not even the Italians or the French can understand. In early 2007 I saw some unreleased rushes, which proved that the uncompleted book was not merely wrong, but libellous. In the last few days of 2008 I received, courtesy of friends, several more crates of Franco Rossellini’s abandoned files, and what was contained therein proved that the partially re-completed book was a piece of unmitigated junk. Not only were the facts erroneous, but the whole conception of the narrative was wrong.

I started all over again. In the summer of 2016 I was just weeks away from finishing when, by the wildest coincidence, I gained entry to Aladdin’s Hidden Cave of Treasures. Yes, nearly everything I had dreamed of finding was suddenly at my fingertips. I was given full, unfettered access to countless thousands of financial papers and legal papers that were missing from Franco Rossellini’s collection. Even a goodly number of production papers are here. Even the missing production photos are here. This wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence; this was a once-in-a-thousand-lifetimes occurrence. Nobody knew this documentation still existed. Nobody knew. Not even the owners of the documentation knew what was in the warehouses and storage lockers. As a matter of fact, the owners were entirely unaware of the existence of these warehouses and storage lockers! Nobody knew this. Nobody knew. Nobody. You think I’d now be in seventh heaven, right?


Now, prior to the unexpected day when the doors opened to the magical incantation of “Sesame,” my book was largely guesswork. I would think to myself: “There must have been an interoffice memo about this deal,” or “A lawyer must have sent a letter explaining a way around this law,” or “This payment must have been off the books,” and as I plough through this newly discovered material, I am stunned: “Oh, here’s that memo that I guessed had been written,” “Oh, here’s that letter from the lawyer that I guessed had been written,” “Oh, here’s the confidential memo indicating that a major payment had been made off the books.” So these recently discovered sources (hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of pages) prove that my guesses were pretty much correct. I was much closer than I dared imagine. Never once did I hit the bull’s-eye, but I was pretty darned close.

So why am I not happy? Well, like I say, I won’t go into details. What I shall reveal, though, is that I need to junk more than half the book and do it all over again. Yet again. I don’t want to anymore. I don’t like this anymore. I’m not interested anymore — especially not in our new political reality when there are issues far more pressing that deserve my time and energies. Further, the behind-the-scenes memos and correspondence are entirely dispiriting — written as they were by heartless, humorless vampire-grouches. Reading thousands and thousands and thousands of pages of their compositions really drains the life out of me. There is the further problem that this book, which I originally predicted would take a year or so to complete, has taken over twelve years and has wrought havoc on my personal life. I’ve come to resent this book. I have only one lifetime, and two-thirds or more has already run out. There are so many other things I’d rather do with what little time is still allotted me.

Do you see why I’m not happy?

Under these circumstances, to leave my Caligula web site up would have been fraudulent and could even have led to legal conflicts. There was no sensible choice but to take it down. Sorry. That’s just the way it is.

To re-post the web site, I would need first to rewrite it almost entirely. Do you think I’m eager to do so? On the contrary! I search every day for other things to do so that I can avoid this task. Wash the windows. Oh, I need to feed the cat. Oh my, those dishes are dirty. Oops, I should call my mother. Oh, that two-hundred-year-old book I’ve been looking for, well, maybe I should check eBay and Abe again. Oh, here’s an Italian text; let’s see if I can read it. Anything to get out of this. Better yet, I currently have a typesetting gig that should occupy me until the late-March 2017 deadline. After that I am commissioned to write a short corporate history, a project should take maybe three or four months (don’t worry; it won’t be a whitewash). Hey, I could use the money.

I am reminded of a story that we heard in archæology class. I have my doubts that this story is true, and I have no names or dates associated with it, which makes verification difficult. The story is that there was a scholar who devoted his entire adult life to interpreting some mysterious runes. Despite his most diligent efforts, he was unable to make headway. Shortly after he died, other scholars examined the evidence only to discover that the runes were in fact merely etchings left by worms. The entire class groaned as one. After having devoted too many of my years to Caligula, I feel that my Caligulan quest is not measurably different from the unfortunate scholar’s runic quest.

That is why I really need to take a break. My nerves are shot. Hope you can understand.

In the meantime, I did keep this one page posted, partly for its educational value, but mostly because I made a promise that I would. I would love to break my promise, but I generally don’t break promises. No page of my site elicited a tenth the fury that this one did (all of it emanating from a single person). I guess that’s another reason I decided to keep it posted.

Keep checking back, but nothing will happen before May or June 2017.

Ranjit, 18 January 2017.