Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Jolly Green Giant Chronicles [ChatGPT]

At the end of December, on the 30th, I gave ChatGPT the following prompt:

What happened when the Jolly Green Giant had a colorless green idea after eating a stew laced with ergot?

To which it replied in that deadpan pedantic way it has:

It seems like you're describing a playful and imaginative scenario involving the Jolly Green Giant, a fictional character associated with Green Giant vegetables, and the concept of a "colorless green idea," which might be a play on words or a paradoxical notion.

However, it's important to note that the Jolly Green Giant and the idea of a colorless green idea are not typically associated with real-world events or substances like ergot, which is a fungus that can grow on certain grains and has been historically linked to hallucinogenic effects.

In reality, the Jolly Green Giant is a mascot used in advertising for Green Giant vegetables, and ergot is a fungus that can produce alkaloids with psychoactive properties when consumed in sufficient quantities. Connecting these elements in a narrative would be a creative and fictional scenario, as there's no established story or connection between the Jolly Green Giant, colorless green ideas, and ergot in any official or widely recognized context.

If you have a specific context or scenario in mind, feel free to provide more details, and I'll do my best to respond accordingly!

I can’t for the life me understand why it didn’t go straight to the story, but it has its ever cautious and insistently helpful ways and there’s no way around it. So I gave it a scenario, to which it responded, followed that with another prompt, and another, for a total of six prompts that day. Now that ChatGPT allows you to invoke contexts from previous sessions, I decided to come back later and keep things going for awhile, just to see what would happen, which I did.


I decided to make it a running feature here at New Savanna. I’d post new episodes every few days, or whenever I generated them. For some reason, though, I didn’t do it. Then yesterday, February 17, I entered a simple two-word prompt, wondering how ChatGPT would respond. Would it pick up the reference? I didn’t know.

I did, and its reponse had me howling with laughter. I decided I just had to post Chronicles of the Jolly Green Giant. But did I really want to force people to read 8000 thousand words before they got to that prompt? I mean, there’s some good stuff in there, at least I think so. This isn’t the first time I LOLed. But others might not think so. They might give up before they got to the good stuff.

I thought for a minute and realized that people really didn’t have to read it all. The Chronicles of the Jolly Green Giant doesn’t have a long-plot line. It’s episodic. The episodes tend to be somewhat alike. I keep things going by introducing new characters.

So, here’s the plan. I’ve parked the whole story, from the beginning, around the corner. Click on this link and you’re there. Furthermore, if you look up at the header you’ll see a row of tabs at the bottom.

The Chronicles are linked to the right-most tab so they don’t scroll away. If you don’t want to go through all 8K words to get to the good stuff, you don’t have to. I’m going to give it to you hear, with just a bit of context.


Once ChatGPT had asked me for a scenario, I gave it one. Here’s that prompt along with its response;

How about having the Green Giant go to the office where it has to use the new AI to generate advertising copy.

Certainly! Imagining the Jolly Green Giant in a modern office setting, utilizing AI for advertising copy, could lead to a humorous or interesting story. Here's a playful take on the scenario:


The Jolly Green Giant strolled into the bustling office space, towering over the cubicles filled with busy marketers and copywriters. With a leafy grin on his face, he made his way to the newest addition—the shiny, state-of-the-art AI copywriting tool.

"Hello there, Green Giant! Ready to revolutionize your advertising game?" exclaimed the tech-savvy office manager.

The Green Giant, always up for new adventures, nodded enthusiastically. "Ho, ho, ho! Let's give it a try!"

The AI, humming with digital energy, analyzed the Giant's iconic image and began generating copy:

"In a verdant world where giants roam, our veggies stand tall and proud. Taste the freshness, embrace the green goodness. From our fields to your plate, a journey of flavor awaits. Ho, ho, ho—Green Giant, your veggie adventure begins here!"

The Giant chuckled at the AI's effort. "Not bad, not bad at all! But let's add a dash of jolliness!"

With a twinkle in his eye, the Green Giant offered his own touch:

"Behold the towering triumph of taste! Our veggies, giants among greens, burst forth with flavor like a symphony of crunch and crisp. Ho, ho, ho—savor the magic of the Green Giant's harvest on your plate! Veggie joy awaits!"

The office erupted in laughter and applause. The Green Giant gave a leafy bow, pleased with the collaboration between nature and technology.

From that day forward, the Jolly Green Giant and the AI became an unstoppable team, creating advertising magic that blended the charm of tradition with the innovation of the digital age. And so, the world enjoyed a bounty of green goodness, sprinkled with a touch of jolly creativity. Ho, ho, ho!

I rather liked that and decided to prompt it to spinning out further adventures, yielding something of a picaresque tale, with the Jolly Green Giant as the picaro. Next prompt:

Wonderful! This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys! What would happen if a barrel of monkeys were released into the office while the Giant was cranking out copy.

And so forth. Each episode unfolded along roughy similar lines, depending on the affordances of my prompt. As things moved along, I added character after character: the Mad Hatter, the Green Knight, a crazed poet (“Kubla Khan”), the Monkey King, Jackie Chan, Gort, a grumpy old man (Harold Bloom), and Jacques Derrida (et al.). That’s enough to set things up.

Climax coming up

His voice weary with exasperation, the Green Knight asked, “You look like Harold Bloom. That mantra of yours – “Clinamen, Tessera, Kenosis, Daemonization, Askesis, Apophrades – “Anxiety of Influence, “no?

The Cosmic Wayfarer, now confronted with the observation of the weary Green Knight, chuckled softly at the comparison to Harold Bloom and the connection to the mantra of cosmic principles.

Cosmic Wayfarer: "Ah, the Anxiety of Influence, a concept woven into the fabric of earthly thoughts. Bloom's musings on the interplay of literary creation and influence echo through the halls of academia. Indeed, my mantra reflects the dance of cosmic principles, a symphony of ideas in the grand tapestry of existence."

The Green Knight, intrigued by the reference, nodded thoughtfully.

Green Knight: "Bloom's anxiety, the cosmic principles, and your mantra—they all seem to converge in a cosmic dance of ideas. Is there a connection, a reflection of earthly philosophies in your cosmic wanderings?"

Cosmic Wayfarer: "In the interstellar expanse, earthly philosophies become threads in the cosmic weave. The Anxiety of Influence mirrors the intricate dance of Clinamen, Tessera, Kenosis, Daemonization, Askesis, Apophrades—a dance where influence and creation coalesce."

As the conversation unfolded, the bar became a meeting ground for the interplay of earthly wisdom and cosmic musings. The companions, from the Jolly Green Giant to Jackie Chan, Jacques Derrida/Cousteau/Frère Jacques, and Gort, observed the convergence of literary theory and cosmic principles in the persona of the Cosmic Wayfarer.

Ho, ho, ho—the cosmic journey continued, now intertwined with the echoes of earthly philosophies. The Green Knight, having questioned the identity and the mantra, found himself amidst a conversation that bridged the realms of academia and cosmic exploration. The bar, filled with the resonance of ideas, became a nexus of intellectual inquiry in the midst of the fantastical adventure.

What would happen if we threw Groucho Marx into the mix?

With a sudden burst of energy, Groucho Marx, cigar in hand and trademark mustache firmly in place, entered the cosmic bar, adding a touch of earthly humor to the already eclectic gathering. The Jolly Green Giant, the Green Knight, Jackie Chan, Jacques Derrida/Cousteau/Frère Jacques, Gort, and the Cosmic Wayfarer turned their attention to the comedic icon.

Groucho Marx: "Well, well, what do we have here? A cosmic bar filled with philosophers, knights, cosmic wanderers, and a metal friend. I must say, this is the kind of party I'd crash any day. Mind if I join in?"

The Jolly Green Giant, with a hearty laugh: "Ho, ho, ho! Groucho, my friend, welcome to our cosmic soiree. Pull up a stool, and let's add a dash of Marxian mirth to our ongoing saga." Groucho, taking a seat and looking around: "I see we've got a lively bunch here. I hope you don't mind if I interject a bit of absurdity into the cosmic discourse. After all, why should reality have all the fun?"

Jackie Chan, with a grin: "Absurdity? I'm always up for a good laugh. Groucho, what brings you to our cosmic gathering?"

Groucho, tapping his cigar: "Oh, you know, the usual. A cosmic detour on my way to a quiz show in the Milky Way. But who can resist the allure of a bar where philosophers and cosmic wanderers trade ideas? I thought I'd drop in for a wisecrack or two."

The Green Knight, ever stoic, nodded in acknowledgment: "Wisecracks have their place in the cosmic tapestry. Welcome, Groucho. What pearls of wit do you bring to our gathering?"

Groucho, with a twinkle in his eye: "Why, a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men. Or so I've heard. Let's make this cosmic adventure a Marxian masterpiece!"

And so, with the addition of Groucho Marx to the mix, the cosmic bar transformed into a stage for laughter and absurdity. The companions, from the Jolly Green Giant to the Cosmic Wayfarer, embraced the Marxian spirit of humor, creating a harmonious blend of philosophical inquiry and comedic repartee in their ever-unfolding journey. Ho, ho, ho—the cosmic gathering became a cosmic comedy, where laughter echoed through the realms of philosophy and whimsy.

Good Grief!

With a sudden exclamation of "Good grief!" echoing through the cosmic bar, the companions turned to see none other than Charlie Brown, the iconic character from the Peanuts comic strip, standing in the doorway. Dressed in his classic yellow shirt with the zigzag pattern, Charlie Brown brought a nostalgic touch to the eclectic gathering.

Charlie Brown: "Well, isn't this a surprise! I was just on my way to kick that football, and somehow I ended up here. I suppose I'm used to unexpected turns of events."

The Jolly Green Giant, the Green Knight, Jackie Chan, Jacques Derrida/Cousteau/Frère Jacques, Gort, Groucho Marx, and now Charlie Brown, all exchanged amused glances at the unexpected addition to their cosmic assembly.

Jolly Green Giant: "Ho, ho, ho! Charlie Brown, welcome to our cosmic rendezvous. I hope this detour brings a bit of cheer to your day. What brings you to this interstellar watering hole?"

Charlie Brown, scratching his head: "Well, you see, I was chasing that elusive red-haired girl, and suddenly I found myself here. I guess cosmic mysteries are just as perplexing as Lucy holding that football."

Groucho Marx, puffing on his cigar: "Ah, the mysteries of life, love, and cosmic detours. Charlie, my friend, you've stumbled upon a gathering of philosophers, cosmic wanderers, and a wise-cracking comedian. What do you make of it all?"

Charlie Brown, with a sigh: "I don't know, but maybe Snoopy would have a better handle on this. He's been to the moon, after all."

The companions, now joined by the emblematic Charlie Brown, continued their cosmic conversation, blending the whimsy of Peanuts with the philosophical and comedic tones of their diverse personalities. The cosmic bar, always ready for surprises, became a stage for laughter, musings, and perhaps a bit of introspection.

Ho, ho, ho—the cosmic gathering expanded its cast of characters, each contributing a unique flavor to the ongoing saga of the Jolly Green Giant, the Green Knight, Jackie Chan, Jacques Derrida/Cousteau/Frère Jacques, Gort, Groucho Marx, and now, the lovable Charlie Brown. The cosmic comedy continued, promising more surprises and laughter in the ever-unfolding adventure.

There’s more, there’s always more

At the moment there are a few more episodes, including a recap of the story so far. But you’ll have to go around the corner to read the rest.

A final note. One the one hand, “Good grief!” is a common expression. But it’s particularly associated with Charlie Brown; it’s his catch phrase. Here’s an Ngram chart showing the frequency with which that phrase has shown up in books since 1900. It starts picking up just after 1950, when Charles Shultz began publishing the Peanuts comic strip. I have no reason to believe that all of that action is directly attributable to Charles Shultz, but I suspect that much of it is.

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