Monday, October 27, 2014

The Fellowship of the Snark


These headless anapaests of Lewis Carroll rollick onwards in their frolicksome procession and who are we to deny their cantering allure? Of course, the essence of an anapaest is the idea of a reversal (a reversal of a reversal, actually, two steps backward and one step forward) and what better expresses the idea of reversal than the dawning realization that one is speaking in a language that no one understands? The unfortunate Baker is quite literally going backwards as the sense of what he says is instantly transformed into nonsense by his puzzled auditors.

Snarkologists call this sort of thing the Snarkosocratic Method, a kind of dialectic in which a question is responded to as though it were absolute nonsense. This in turn forces the questioner to endlessly repeat himself until his uncomprehending auditors gradually lose interest and finally go away.

Left alone in his splendidly impenetrable semiolinguistic Fortress of Solitude, the Baker is now free to concentrate his intellectual powers upon himself. Toying with the building-blocks of language and meaning, he will arrive at some sort of Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything in It … eventually …

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wu Tang Snark



False pretences are the bane of modern life or so I’m told. Although Lewis Carroll seems to have composed here an entire poem devolving entirely from the concept of false pretences and all the semiotic and logical heartache they can inflict upon the tender-hearted and tender-brained, in our more louche age the concept of false pretences has inspired instead a steady diet of policiers, bodice-ripping Mills & Boons and true-life confessional serial-killer-self-help-vademeca.

Very well, let the masses have their sensationalist Lewis Carroll, their police gazette Hunting of the Snark! If it’s murder and false pretences they want, let ‘em have it!

The heart of the problem, as I saw it, was to produce a drawing with a maximum of false pretensions and a minimum of actual labor. My eyes fell upon samples of certain competitors of mine, artists blessed with an abundance of spare time and a minimum of talent which they had parlayed into a critically-acclaimed career of coprophiliac jokes, professional amateurism and an uncanny penchant for receiving 99% of a book's fee while doing 1% of the work.

Gosh! Throwing caution to the winds, I brushed aside my idly gyrating Assamese nautch girl, recklessly purchased an entire sheet of second-grade-fresh Denril and pushed another quarter into the meter of my steam-driven pencil! Working without respite, I laboured to flesh out the Baker’s criminal pretence, multiplying his crypto-Carrollian visage seven-fold!

Huzzah for the critics! In a world of false pretences, who is the menaced assassin and who is the menacing victim now? Look out, New York art-wallahs, here comes a real maverick!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Through a glass, snarkly


A strange brew: a pastoral melancholy of the gods resurgent, a fête galant of the ancien regime, the reveries of Lewis Carroll and an illustrator slumbering over his ink-pot …

The Fellowship of the Snark has succumbed to the most delicious ennui, the most languid douceur possible … it is impossible, amidst the heady scent of perfumed bowers and amorous glances, to even speak that hateful word Boojum … far easier for the Boots to nibble on his ladylove’s niobic neck, far easier for the Butcher to lead the gallant company of andromachean mannequins and embryonic homunculi down the verdant lawn towards the wondrous, gilded barge whose pilot, the Bellman, will steer them to the sanctuary of Cythera, that isle of enchantment where all things distasteful softly and suddenly vanish away into their constituent, Savinio-esque semioglyphs …

Monday, October 6, 2014

Things fall a-snark, the centre cannot hold …


I submit for your perusal the word uffish in the above lines. Lewis Carroll explained it thus: "it (uffish) seemed to suggest a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish."

A likely story … I suspect that all this Carrollian neologicomania was nothing more than a clever, crypto-linguistic metatheory (hatched, no doubt, in some "scenic" bathing machine) which attempts to explain the Origin of Language in the Human Species by means of the Clochetic Rule-of-Three!

Simply put, the learned Mister Carroll was pointing out, through repeated utterances of neologisms such as uffish and brillig and Boojum, that whatever we tell one another three times eventually does become true, that is to say, we need look no further for any linguistic First Cause than the simple observation that long, long ago, certain sounds became words through mere repetition. We might even say that sound becomes symbol through repetition, or even better, chaos becomes logic through repetition. So much for the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything in It! Mister Carroll seems to have whittled it all down to a proper size, easily digestible and suitable for the unwashed masses.

Of course, there are always certain idle loafers lounging in every philosophical woodpile, hairshirt-wallahs such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, who dismissed the linguistic and logical implications of Carroll’s Clochetic Rule-of-Three by sniffing (in German, no less!) that it was as if “someone were to buy several copies of the morning paper to assure himself that what it said was true.”

To which we reply: What rubbish! Quelle bêtise! Was für ein Quatsch!
____________________

NB. Needless to say, our prelingual, Adamic ancestors did not read newspapers. They preferred perusing the above drawing and verses, which would have been engraved upon the walls of their semi-Platonic caves. Note carefully the plethora of doors delineated in both. These are the doors of perception, which, if cleansed, would allow everything to appear to the Snark concealed behind each of ‘em as it truly is — infinite! You do realize, don't you, that to these concealed Snarks, we are the concealed infinity behind their doors?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bring Me the Head of Snarko Garcia


After a successful hunting, one is always left with the remains of the dead, even in Lewis Carroll’s genteel, literary world. In this, the frontispiece to Fit the Fourth, we see the remains of a particularly jolly hunting, stuffed and mounted upon the wall of a certain someone’s hunting lodge.* The Bellman looks particularly splendid and lifelike and for those of us who keep track of such matters, the Snark-is-Eye Leitmotif can be discerned through the looking glass.

Certain folk say that is in bad taste to speak ill of the dead. Others look askance at their being stuffed and mounted upon a wall. Still others abhor those other who look askance. I place myself in the rarefied category of those who loudly proclaim that if the dead are too lazy to do anything for themselves it’s their own look-out and certainly not the business of the government! Harrumph!

Look, look there, at that uppermost head in the middle … why, it’s the Boots-cum-Charles-Darwin … what grotesque sense of humor put him there? Was it one of those Literary Darwinists? — they’re all the rage now! Lurking behind every poem and novel and feuilleton, we find these weirdoes who ascribe the most salacious evolutionary motives to every author — and yes, every reader! Oh the times, oh, the customs, when the reader is being read, the author is being authored, and yes … the hunter is being hunted!

I could go on like this for some time now but all this thinkery-inkery is really a bit taxing; I‘d rather be outside in the fresh autumnal air, grouse-hunting from a helicopter or seal-clubbing with pretty young things till midnight or whatever it is that we must do for sport in these oddly unimaginative antinomian times.
_________________________

*The reader should note that this is the only time in 140 years that an illustrator has dared to depict the interior of a Snark’s lair. Note the threadbare furnishings, cheap wooden flooring and fusty curtains — economy is certainly our Snark’s watchword! I have heard it said that he was once a Park Avenue Snark but now prefers to be known as a Small Town Snark. So be it, one must trim one’s sails to whatever flatulence is being emitted from the Body Politic!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Portnoy's Snark


The story so far: we are reaching the end of Fit the Third of my GN version of The Hunting of the Snark … action, adventure, anapests!
The last, fateful words of the Baker-cum-Lewis-Carroll before he is smothered by the inky depths of the night, suffocated by the relentless Amorous Gigantism of Inanimate Things, transfixed by the icy glare of the Snark-Is-Eye lurking in the wardrobe — obliterated, in short, by his memories of the future!

This whole Boojum business is what literary boffins like to call Catharsis, a purging and expelling of unsettling emotions, a process which results in a post-Boojum state of relaxation, mental ease, gleaming white teeth and little or no underarm perspiration. In this state of enlightenment all of one’s troubles softly and suddenly vanish away and one is left with only the minty-fresh after-taste of … Boojum-Orientalism!

Boojum-Orientalism is fundamentally a political doctrine willed over the Boojum because the Boojum is weaker than the Baker, a doctrine which elides the Boojum’s difference with its weakness. . . . as a cultural apparatus Boojum-Orientalism is all aggression, activity, judgment, will-to-truth, and knowledge … the whole point about this system is not that it is a misrepresentation of some Boojumistic essence — in which I do not for a moment believe — but that it operates as representations usually do, for a purpose, according to a tendency, in a specific historical, intellectual, and even economic setting …

All hail the postsemiotic Second-Grade-Fresh-New-World-Order! Aided only by my trusty giant power-packed pen and buckets of thick, reheated cafeteria-style ink, I have deconstructed a Boojum-ridden, prostrate Baker into a resurgent postcolonial Boojum reasserting his alienated Snarkhood and casting aside the dehumanizing typology of the oppressive Victorian bourgeois Snark Hunter … (pauses for breath) …

… until that time when that fickle Wheel of Fate turns again and allows a resurgent postcolonial Baker to reassert his alienated manhood and cast aside the dehumanizing typology of the oppressive Victorian bourgeois Boojum … (dabs brow with gin-soaked compresses) …

… hurrah for the disappearance of the Author-Function! Hurrah for the justified tyranny of the Reader-Boojum! Hurrah for everybody!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Garden of Forking Snarks


The Eminent Victorian Mr. Lewis Carroll well understood the human condition! The difference twixt nonsense and tragedy is but a hairsbreadth at best. Observe the above pictolinguistic Snarkglyph. A certain baker, a maker of cakes and pastries, suffers from nightmares — possibly the result of over-eating his products — which he combats with healthful salads and the nocturnal illumination of phosphorus matches. So far, so good, an eminently plausible scenario without the least taste of Nonsense about it. In fact, it is a commendably sober and salubrious cautionary verse upon the dangers of gluttony!

And yet …

These nocturnal adversaries of which our pistorian hero complains so mightily, these things that go bump in the night, these incubi, night hags and other mares that sit upon one’s chest and pose so stylishly for certain other artists, well, that’s all very well for the likes of the Talented Mister Fuseli, but here at Chez Snark we have simpler tastes — economy is our watchword! Even nightmares cost time and money! Let Mister Holiday squander jeroboams of ink and hogsheads of paper upon his champagne-soaked rendition of the Baker’s Dream of the Snark — I cannot!

With a meager drop or two of ink (2nd-grade-fresh, alas, which makes my throat hurt so) and a few scraps of pentimenti (Chianti-stained and still reeking of garlic) I lie upon my tatty charpoy, with both pen and Assamese nautch-girl in feeble hand and draw, as best as I can, the simple rudiments of the Baker’s Nightmare, that grim Adversary with which he struggles night after night.

I ink a hard-won fork here, pencil in a desperately-needed matchstick there … the simple yet telling domestic detail of the wardrobe drawing nearer … render the Baker’s tear-stained, tattered leaf of Boston lettuce with which he keeps at bay the nocturnal chill … perhaps I even shed a tear into the dregs of my Chèvre Noir as I labour but no matter (no one can hear you weep in a modern, soundproofed garret anyway) … for that is the task I have taken upon myself, to draw things just as I see ‘em … and that is the nature of real Tragedy! — to engage with the Snark, every night and every day — on spec …

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Very Rich Hours of Count von Snarkenberg


Gosh! This Baker-cum-Lewis-Carroll-wallah really does go on and on about Boojums. Of course, we all know how unwelcome they are and what havoc they can wreak on priceless family heirlooms like forks and hope, but methinks the Baker doth protest too much!

Yes, yes, yes, we’ve heard all of this before, a Boojum is a dreadful thing to contemplate, a Boojum fluoridated my drinking water and a Boojum tampered with my automobile’s brakes … but has the Baker ever gone mano a mano with a teenage daughter? Has the Baker any idea what it is to roll up one’s sleeves and decervellage an American atheist? Has the Baker never crossed swords with a sharp-witted Englishman forced to squander his life and considerable talents as a mere maths tutor whilst blathering absolute nonsense to his young, boojum-like charges?

As for me, pshaw to all that! Yeah, mister, I’m a tough guy! I snap my inky fingers at ‘em, these pesky Boojums, they are but a trifle compared to coming up with some nice, snappy copy for each and every line of The Hunting of the Snark … week after week … year after year … stanza after stanza … panel after panel … oh, god, it is this, it is this that I dread!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Snark From Another Planet



The crossing of international frontiers whilst engaged in the hot pursuit of a Snark is no excuse for antisocial behaviour  We see here a young Surrey fellaheen, a Baker-disguised-as-Lewis-Carroll by trade, who is preparing his claim for refugee status on the grounds of Boojum persecution. 

Rendered supine by his well-documented apprehension of meeting a Boojum through no fault of his own, he remains in bed to conserve precious forensic evidence, ie. decervellage and involuntary dairy-product substitution of major organs. His parents bid him a tearful, wooden goodbye. His uncle, a Major General doubling in the role of psychopomp-cum-coyote (thus saving this artist considerable ink and labour), carefully peruses a Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form …


1. Declare all fetishes, such as smiles, soap, forks, etc., that you might have on your person for the purpose of hunting Snarks. Please have them unpacked and ready for inspection upon your arrival. The time for observation is limited and we mustn’t hold up others!

2. Notify the authorities if you are approached by anyone offering to distort the relative proportions of your surroundings. Any illicit trafficking in the amorous gigantism of the inanimate world may cause permanent semiotic confusion.

3. Please stay in line. Running into another line, or enjambment, might cause injury, disfigurement or even loss of life and limb. All lines should be end-stopped and masculine rhymed as befits true English nonsense. 

And to where is our Baker emigrating, you might ask? Perhaps, like the late, great Hedley Lamarr, he is fleeing this poem for another, hailing a hansom cab (with ugly driver) and demanding to be taken out of this stanza to a less paranoid quatrain … where your wretched refuseniks of tired masses huddle to be free, tally ho!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Mystery of Edwin Druid


Oh, you silly, mad, impetuous boy of a Bellman, of course you’ve heard it before! Your sense of exactitude may be lacking but as we shall demonstrate, that is mere subterfuge! In fact, our Bellman has a cunning plan … designed to cloak the manicheaen dichotomy of his cryptognostic brainbox with something completely different!

The Bellman’s memory of the Baker’s Snark-Hunting Method (see last week’s stanzel) has been divided, like the Dakotas or William Pitt or even George Bush, into two portions to conceal his heretical, dare we say, even paganistic proclivities …

The outer, more orthodox memory is derived from childhood memories of Sunday morning sermonizing at the ol’ vicarage, to wit, Hebrews 12 : 17 …

"For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."

However, there is another, more pertinent memory lurking in the wings, a happier memory of family sing-alongs around the parlour piano, to wit, some verses from that favorite Victorian ballad, The Mistletoe Bough …

They sought her that night, they sought her next day,
They sought her in vain when a week passed away.

Nothing much to see here*, folks — until one remembers that the mistletoe is an ancient element of that paganism which was uprooted entirely by the orthodox Christianity which the Bellman supposedlyespouses with his first, hebraic memory!

Say it ain’t so, Bellman! Deny, if you can, that what we have here, in this Snark Hunters’ recipe of "seeking-thimbles-care-forks-hope-railway-share-smiles-soap" is nothing less than a Celtic pagan’s verse charm, an Old English galdor in fact, cleverly concealed behind some monotheistic prattle! But he cannot deny, he cannot say it ain’t so, he stands silent.

And so, it is with heavy heart (and light kidneys) that we must unmask the Bellman and show him as he really is — an unrepentant henotheist! All this versified fancypants talk of seeking Snarks is just old-fashioned pagan charm-making — by jove, it’s plain witchcraft! Deny it all you can, Bellman, but shame on you, the fictional creation of a clergyman’s son, for your heathen ways. You and your cabal of backsliding, snark-worshipping, Anglo-Saxon cryptoskálds are found out at last! Go now, skulk in your sordid oak groves … 

… How on earth did they find me out, you wonder, from whence comes this prosecutorial zeal? By Belenos, what is this, the Spanish Inquisition?
 — ha, ha — nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
________________________

* There are those quibblers who will insist upon the The Mistletoe Bough's publication date of 1884 rendering null and void all manner of thoughts concerning the influence of Old English poetry upon Lewis Carroll, and in particular, the general, pre-Christian, Northern European penchant for conflating linguistic structure with cosmological structure. I do not know whether the ballad has an older antecedent (I suspect it does, simply because I wish it so) but I do know that Carroll's fascination with linguistic world-play is undeniable and has deep roots in English culture. In addition, I cannot for the life of me remember to whom I must attribute the above Biblical and balladic Snarkological theories

Monday, August 11, 2014

I, Snark


Do not mistake this infamous stanza as a magical refrain or prescription designed by Lewis Carroll to assist the B-Boyz in their Snark hunt, nothing could be further from the truth. Such misthinking is an anthrosemiotic bogeyman put forth by certain academics & philosophes of the Sir James Frazer ilk, Cheapside tailors peddling "ready-made suits" for their naked and the dead.

Consider instead the internal Mind of this poem (yes, there are such boojums), which lives a life independent of its creator, its inhabitants & even its readers. All works of art have these primeval Minds, each according to its national character. The Mind of this poem, being English, roams the midsummer nights daubed in woad, speaks in runes at high tea, shares small beer with the Mind of the Domesday Book and Prospero’s Books in the Mermaid Tavern, and dosses behind hedges with the Mind of Bradshaw’s Railway Guide, a direct descendent of Achilles’ Shield presently down on her luck.

Before you can voice your objections, I must interject — pshaw! Be unperplexed, dear reader! — the Snark and the Mind of The Hunting of the Snark are not the same bestiole. The latter is a deliberate fiction bandied about by Lewis Carroll. The former is the Art behind the fiction — a magic which the Muses have excused from the lie of being truthful. 

Oh, ye of too much faith! Can’t you see that all your seeking and hunting and threatening and charming, that all of your sacrifices are meant for you, you alone, that they serve only to distract you from the truth? We heap up our sacrificial relics at the feet of the Mind of the Snark: the thimbles, the cares, the forks and hope, the railway shares, the smiles and soap, all that Victorian bourgeois clutter mouldering in our mental attic — for ourselves only!

Pack up your smiles and soap, abandon all forks and hope, ye überliterati! Repent and understand at last that the Hunting of the Snark is a robinsonade (the mysterious island from whence allNonsense springs) and that the Mind of the Snark is its pagan god-chieftain at whose feet we pile gifts useful to no one but ourselves.
_____________________

NB. Thanks to Doug Howick for unearthing The Head of a New Zealand Chief … the etymological plot thickens and in my ‘umble opinion there is much more than meets the eye in this illustration’s cutline. And if you cannot discern the difference twixt Art and Fiction, well, that’s your own lookout.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Apeneck Snarky


It is an undeniably Gradgrindish Fact that of all the commentaries which I’ve made on my GN version of  The Hunting of the Snark, the most popular by far was the Assamese Snark Curry. Obviously, my readers possess the good taste to delight in the pleasures of both the chase and the table.

The flavor of Snark, being animal, vegetable and mineral all at once, lends itself to all manner of cookery and here at Chez Snark, we dine on it in every season and think nothing of it — it is the original slow-food and since the Snark is a beast easily found everywhere, its carbon foot print is the lightest imaginable! The following recipe perfectly captures the flavor and ambience of freshly-caught snark in its South Asian incarnation — you won’t be disappointed!

South Indian Snark Fry
• Fetch to home by any means possible (palanquin, scooter-rickshaw, forkéd stick) approx. 2 lbs. Snark fillets. If your fishmonger has no Snark, chastise him or her firmly, then condescend to use any skinless, boneless, firm-fleshed fish fillets such as tilapia, cod, catfish. Perfectly fresh soft-shell crabs are widely considered to be the best approximation of Snark.
• 2 tablespoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper and as much ground red chili (cayenne)as you care for
• A half-cup of grated onion
• 3 cloves of garlic, grated
• Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
• Sufficient flour to dredge the fillets, a mixture of one-half all-purpose plain flour, one-half corn meal

Combine the spices, grated onion, grated garlic and oil in a non-reactive bowl, then place the snark fillets inside the bowl, making sure that the fillets become thoroughly coated with the mixture. Let stand (refrigerated) for at least an hour or two. When ready to cook, gently dredge the coated fillets in the cornmeal-flour mix, taking care that the onion & spice mix remains on the fillets. Fry them in a pan with sufficient oil at high heat. The crust should be golden brown and if done speedily will not be at all greasy. Serve immediately.

You may indeed serve it with greens such as a simple garden salad. You may also fetch it home in the company of a thoroughly chilled crisp India pale ale. You may even use it for striking a light along with some lime pickle. But if your Snark fry be a Boojum, then just softly and suddenly vanish away … and let that Boojum do the washing-up for a change!

Onward, with forks and hope — to the table!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Snark in the Time of Cholera


Yes, yes, yes, that’s all very well, dear reader … aren’t you clever to have remembered that Lewis Carroll’s colleague, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was named after his dear uncle, Robert Wilfred Skeffington (gesundheit) Lutwidge.

I also know that you have made arrangements to force your attentions upon some local chorus girls and impress upon them the coincidence of the Snark’s origins; how Lewis Carroll commenced that poem’s composition in the town of Guildford on July 18, 1874 — the precise time and place where Dodgson himself was playing the role of "dear uncle" whilst nursing a terminally ill, tubercular nephew.

But there’s more. While going through an old dustbin the lid flew off and you emerged clutching the proof positive of an avuncular trifecta : a dog-eared account of dear uncle Robert Wilfred Skeffington Lutwidge being murdered by a lunatic armed with a large, rusty nail, the point of which had been recently sharpened in anticipation of its lethal purpose.

Enough of these dear uncles and these dear readers! It's this defective pen of mine, it will not draw uncles properly — curse these cut-rate penmongers! This hand-me-down drawing of a telegram of a newspaper clipping of a photograph of a simulated second-hand uncle will have to do for now … at least until that time when all our "dear uncles", like laughter, are doomed to disappear.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beneath the Planet of the Snarks


The story so far … there once was a Snark … but it will be a Boojum, alas!

The Baker is suffering from what we now know to be angst. Once upon a time we would have pinned the label of big, fat crybaby upon him but these are dangerously litigious times for thought-criminals. 

Boojum-angst was first used as a legal defense by the Baker’s legal counsel, the Barrister, AKA Martin Heidegger, in his seminal brief (naughty boy!) : Sein und Zeit. He excused the Baker’s regression into a second childhood with the then-novel defense of angst, which he explained as an objectless and generalized dread occasioned by the growing presence of Nothing. The boojum, a nonexistent being, fit this description nicely and the Barrister won an acquital for his client on the grounds that he was an idiot anyway. We shall see more of the Barrister’s weasel-skills in Fit the Sixth.

From whence comes this fashion to label all things boojum in the German language? Angst, schadenfreude, strafe (straffen), weltschmertz — all of ‘em teutonic and hardly a laugh in the lot. May we quote the poet Heinrich Heine (finally getting some good reviews in the doggedly illiterate American press) on this subject :

"… the Germans have the curious custom of always attaching a thought to whatever they do.”

Schnitzel for thought, indeed! All it needs is this mustard-like condiment, from the cupboard of the truly inspired and genuinely missed American illustrator, Edward Gorey :

"I have a dumb theory that a creative piece of art is only interesting if it purports to be about something and is really about something else."

Milord, the defense rests in its usual, pretzel-like position. Like the Baker — at play in the ontic fields of the lord — to all the above charges of unlawful boojumizing and multiple neologizing we shall plead : ignorance, madam, pure ignorance. Or in the very best Clochetic-cum-Orwellian manner : ignorance, madam, double-plus pure ignorance.

Monday, July 14, 2014

To snark or not to snark, that is the question


Achtung literati! Avoid any authors unwilling to suffer their own characters’ fate. Eschew the likes of Samuel Beckett and whomever was behind the Book of Job, spurn the fictions of Dante and the Marquis de Sade, turn instead to more egalitarian raconteurs such as Lewis Carroll. Carroll’s sudden referral to childhood in this stanza provides some therapeutic respite to the Baker’s boojum-anxiety complex.

The Baker has responded positively to this authorial auto-suggestion and has infantilized both himself and his parents into an easily digestible and perfectly oedipal size, as we can see in this fine drawing. I will not tell you which of the several nursery room objects are the Baker’s parents, I’ll leave that to you to work out! Just place one after another into your mouth whilst cooing and gurgling.

The more indolent reader might be wondering how this authorial auto-suggestion works. In short, the Baker "hears" his author’s narration and description, etc., as a voice inside his head. Naturally, he has told no one else of this phenomenon. Please note that I have chosen to provide the Baker with the physiognomy of Lewis Carroll himself and thus created an epistomological escape hatch (or trap door) of sorts for the Baker, bless his farinaceous heart.

With all this in mind, the Baker is enjoying a rich and satisfying internal life these days. He goes through the motions of a Snark hunt with his fellows whilst simultaneously believing himself to be a 42-year old Oxford mathematics don plotting the destiny of a hermetic and even pseudo-gnostic Snarkian Multiverse (similar in nature though larger in scope to Le Garage Hermétique de Jerry Cornelius) which revolves and devolves and evolves solely and utterly upon a nonexistent entity which only he can comprehend — and which only he, the Baker, will apprehend!

The infinite melancholy of a long-ago summer’s day in Guildford, compressed into the infantile desire to put the entire world inside one's mouth (it's the Hindu thing to do) … this Snark could be bounded in a nutshell and still count himself king of infinite space! It’s all child’s play for the talented Mr. Carroll.

Monday, July 7, 2014

When Adam snarked and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?


Martin Gardner, in his indispensible Annotated Snark, cites Eric Partridge’s assertion that the Baker’s use of antediluvian is "one of those rare instances in which Carroll uses a standard word in a completely whimsical sense". Gardner also notes the opposing theory of antediluvian being used as a foreshadowing of the Baker’s tears-to-come.

However, you and I know that he’s speaking Adamic, the universal language spoken before the Flood and the dispersal of tongues at the Tower of Babel. This antediluvian language, designed to facilitate Edenic communication between discreet data points in a secure and lossless environment (think FORTRAN or KVIKKALKUL), remains the Baker’s preferred flavour of postlapsarian blarney*. If we waxed poetic, we might even say it’s the angelic language in which animals dream and children babble when the adults are gone to bed.

But we’ll wax not, as yet, for deep, deep, deep underneath the surface, the Baker’s very shallow. Bless his simple Adamic soul but he’s just a Chomskian idiot-savant suffering from untreated postdiluvian stress syndrome. He sees the sun going down and the world spinning round and he macadamizes a postmodern, postlapsarian, postdiluvian and postbabelian man of sorrows on the comeback trail.

As for the Baker’s curious epithet of Ho; it is a typical bit of Snarkolinguistic bandinage, an orientalist snarkwallah’s reference to the eponymous language spoken in eastern India and Bangladesh, a language whose word for man is ho.

The word, the language, the man — all together now — tally ho!
___________________________________

* The reconstruction of the Adamic language is a wholesome pastime for the protosurrealist insomniac. Its a priori ontological perfection requires an infinite vocabulary in which every word is a homophone of the other. All conjugations in the infinitive, all declensions nominative, no prepositions needed since every speaker is every thing and thus consubstantial, no interrogatives since they imply a lack of faith, etc. Might we not conjecture that Adamic survives today as the uneasy silence between phonemes?