(Cimrman's Philosophical MetaAxiom "If you think, think again")
Jara (da) Cimrman is a half-forgotten Czech genius, whose monumental work was accidentally unearthed during the sixties by the so-called "Liptakov explosion" (Liptakov was Cimrman's favorite resort). In the Autumn of 1966, first Cimrman's discoveries were introduced to the Czech public in a series of radio shows from the wine-house "U pavouka" that began with the announcement of Dr. Evzen Hedvabny (a.k.a. Karel Velebny) "that while building a fireplace in his summer house in Liptakov, he found a huge old chest containing manuscripts of a completely forgotten Czech genius."
The spiritual legacy of Jara Cimrman proved to be so fruitful that Jiri Sebanek
suggested that they establish a theater that would be fully devoted to studying and
staging numerous works that were being discovered by the first cimrmanologists. The idea
caught on rather quickly and soon the first plays by Jara Cimrman were performed in his
own theater whose growing ensemble included Zdenek Sverak, Ladislav Smoljak, Jiri Sebanek,
Milon Cepelka, Karel Velebny and others. The opening night of Cimrman's first discovered
play "Act" was set for October 4th, 1967. Other pieces followed soon so that
during the second season (1968-69), three plays were in the repertoire with the fourth one
being rehearsed. Today, Cimrman's name is mostly associated with the "Theater of Jara
Cimrman" (led by Zdenek Sverak, Ladislav Smoljak) and with "Salon Cimrman"
(founded by Jiri Sebanek and Karel Velebny). Their contributions to discovering and
popularizing the fruits of Cimrman's gigantic intellectual span can hardly be
overemphasized. Some of their discoveries are included in the
Highlights of Cimrman's life and career.
Surprisingly, only a few people know that it was Jara Cimrman who introduced the breast stroke to the American swimming community. This memorable if not revolutionary event took place during the 11th annual swimming competition of American farmers on September 9th, 1909 in the little town of Joinville, Arkansas. In the forefront of the picture, we see Miss Juliette Blake, the youngest daughter of the Alabama sugar cane tycoon, Mr. William Blake, who won the competition with Cimrman's innovative swimming style that was based on a stroke developed over the centuries by poor shepherds in the Jizera Mountains of Austria-Hungary. Jara Cimrman, who was Juliette's personal trainer not only taught her proper techniques, but also sewed an hydrodynamic (and slightly provocative) swimsuit for her that others soon copied and flaunted in front of the shocked male spectators.
Interestingly, Jara Cimrman's own leg is shown in the lower right corner of the photograph. Even though cimrmanologists cannot agree whether this is the right leg or the left one, it is definitely one of the very few photographs depicting any part of Cimrman's body at all. Unfortunately, none of these few photographs shows his face, whose exact shape, color and form are unknown today.
Also, let us mention that the woman on the right (from our point of view) behind Juliette was identified as the baroness Clare Anne-Marie von Hausengroben of Switzerland, who was spending her summer vacation in Joinville that year and who later claimed to have had a child by Cimrman. By the time of her disclosure (1923), however, Cimrman had disappeared and could not confirm or deny her claims. Finally, the three men in the background are local doctors. The organizers did not trust Cimrman's awkward style and had several physicians stand by in case emergencies would occur.
Cimrman's multi-faceted personality attracted a lot of attention among laymen too. Some of the researches of amateur-cimrmanologists are summarized in the archives of the mailing list "firstname.lastname@example.org" that discusses various aspects of Cimrman's life and work (warning: 95% of all postings are in Czech). In the past I wrote some essays for this list too:
"The First Man on the Moon - Jara da Cimrman"
"Cimrman - a Pioneer of Theoretical Physics"
"Leonardo da Vinci - Jara da Cimrman"
"Cimrman and Computers" (with a remark by P. Neilson)
"Cimrman and WWW"
"April Fools '96"
"Cimrman in New Mexico" (contains pics)
"Cimrman's answers" (from the mailing list JDC-L)
"the C files" (a parody of Fox's famous duo of mystery-busters)
"Fruits of spamming"
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