Via Erin (via Bruce Schneier’s blog), I found out about S. Parthasarathy‘s proposal to replace Alice and Bob with Sita and Rama. I have been known to use Alice and Bob on occasion (unlike some people I find the anthropomorphizing to be good, on the balance), but perhaps I should develop some cultural pride and make the switch to “a smarter alternative to these characters.” According to Parthasarathy, there is greater literary relevance to the scenario where Sita wants to send a message to Rama. The dramatic personae in this version are:
- Sita : kidnapped maiden who wishes to send a message
- Rama : brave prince who is to receive the message
- Hanuman : the honest broker who relays the message
- Ravana : the rogue-in-the-middle who acts as the adversary. To avoid confusing first letters, let’s rename him Badmash.
There are a number of other appealing allusions in this scenario.
I think it’s a fun exercise — can one come up with other settings? Perhaps based on Gilgamesh, or Star Wars. I’m sure at least one reader of this blog could come up with a Battlestar Galactica scenario. Adama to Baltar?
Also, I couldn’t help but point to this chestnut, the real story of Alice and Bob (h/t to my father).