Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Fit Two, Page 16, Panel 1 … most of life’s evils arise from man's inability to sit still in a bathing-machine
"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
Which it constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes —
A sentiment open to doubt.
Given : Only with one’s bathing-machine can one bathe properly and thoroughly.
Given : The divinely-ordained, absolute and ineffable perfection of any place cannot be achieved without a bathing-machine.
Ergo : Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Not a surprising sentiment coming from the pen of an English clergyman’s son but it is an accurate depiction of the Snark’s true character and motives? Read on, MacDuff …
Given : The Snark’s sentimental attachment to bathing-machines does nothing to improve the beauty of scenes.
Given : The Snark’s sentiments are open to doubt.
Ergo : When in doubt, do nothing.
A Fabian approach to the hunting of Snarks but will the poilu tolerate it? History warns us otherwise! Je me souviens Cannae …
Given : The utility of a bathing-machine lies solely in its property of not allowing an observer to know what is inside it.
Given : The Snark’s chief happiness is the transportation of its bathing-machine from one place to another.
Ergo : Ignorance is bliss.
And there you have it, another Clochetic validation of the platitudinous proverbs with which we usually stave off our lexical and cognitive horror vacui. I have illustrated all of the above palaver with another infamous platitude, one of the Comte de Lautrémont’s most infamous bromides: the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing machine and an umbrella. I think the bathing machine lends a certain banality to the whole thing, don’t you? Even surrealism (and especially protosurrealism) has its sentimental, even hackneyed picture-postcard moments!
NB. The Poetry Foundation was kind enough to ask me to illustrate an essay on the "World’s Longest Poem". Thanks to the auspicious medium of the Internet, you will find that my illustration, the informative and witty essay and the genuinely long poem all form a seamless and truthful whole, a sphere of infinite circumference whose center is everywhere. You won’t be disappointed!