Ty Landman emailed me about trying to set the record straight saying "I was just hoping to somehow formally (in the guidebook or another way?) acknowledge/record the fact that there is the original start , where the first ascensionist and four others started and a new start/variant that is considered somewhat of a different problem (especially considering those first two moves are the crux)." In the description of the problem in my Boulder Canyon Guide, I specifically describe the exact starting holds that Ty used. In my correspondence with Jimmy, he stated that he felt his start was more "logical" than Ty's start.
Bouldering is a funny game in that unlike most modes of climbing, a problem can be excruciatingly exact with parameters set by the climber or a group of climbers that can seem ridiculous. Yet this problem appears in other forms of climbing as well. In sport climbing, climbers will be taken to task for discovering knee bars or variations to a prestigious route such as Slice of Life in Rifle. Dean Potter's solo ascent of Astroman got a small asterisk in the American Alpine Club journal for bypassing a hard section on the "boulder problem" pitch with a short variation. And on and on it goes, even to the level of big walls and Himalayan peaks.
At its heart, climbing is a really slippery pursuit, both physically and mentally and any attempts to categorize or define it run head on into this amorphous quality. It is only when we try to tack on grades, climbing CVs, sponsorships, news items, and so that this elusive quality makes itself felt. What happens in the end is that climbers will follow the path they choose, even if the first ascent followed a different vision. If there is a common thread in all of this, it is one of learning movement, facing failure and success honestly, and keeping an open attitude toward what you have done and what others have done.
In the case of Midnight Express, the variant method will probably be recognized as such and TY's method considered the original. Grades will be sorted out and the record will reflect the change. And eventually maybe someone will start matched from the low hold on the left and yet a newer problem will emerge. Or not.