Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Fit the Fourth, Page 28, Panel 1 … the tears of a clown when there's boojum around
But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine,
With yellow kid gloves and a ruff —
Said he felt it exactly like going to dine,
Which the Bellman declared was all “stuff".
It was probable that Lewis Carroll never intended for us to have any notion of what actually went on behind the scenes of his Snark Hunt. Snark hunting, like the legislative process, is a notoriously messy business similar to stuffing sausage meat into casings or cash into briefcases. It is an affair ill-suited to dandies or clowns, which is precisely the fugal state into which we now see the Butcher fleeing into, a delusionary state which is based, as such things so often are, on certain Gradgrindish factoids which be-Boojum our oh-so-brief sojourn in this Vale of Illusions! Yikes!
The ruff that our Butcher wears is derived from ruffle which is itself derived from the Old Norse hrufla, to scratch. This quality of scratching has already been defined as one of the distinctive qualities of the Pandemonic-Boojum subspecies of Snarks (Snarquus boojum infernum) as they are found in the wild.
The yellow kid gloves, a term smacking of an overly dainty or delicate temprament, are redolent with intimations of the overly-refined British buffoonery of the late-Victorian Aesthetic genre of art and literature. One of the luminaries of this movement, Oscar Wilde, made a small though crucial contribution to Snarkology when he concocted that character Bunbury, who had an entirely unsettling or even annihilating effect upon anyone who encountered him — despite his nonexistence! This is a protosurrealist homage of sorts from one great genius to another, the Bunbury effect being entirely similar to the Boojum effect. But wait, dear reader, there’s more …
It is an interesting though useless fact that Bunbury is also a verb, to bunbury meaning to assume a different persona in the countryside as opposed to the city. Nowadays, this verb is mostly employed by ornithologists, to describe the variant personae and behavior of birds in rural and urban environments. And of course, birds also have feathers and bite, which is the defining characteristic of the other Cherubic subspecies of Boojums, Snarquus boojum angelicum.
Well, that’s pretty much QED, I should think, for my Unified Snarkian Multiverse Theory. Stuff indeed, Mister Bellman, harrumph, harrumph!