Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dream books, nonsense and bourbon …

In lieu of a genuinely Snarkish posting this week (have no fear, our Snark is in temporary occlusion only), I would like to present you with several Gradgrindish Facts instead :

It is a Fact that the pursuit of Nonsense is a useful pastime which not only will enable you to parse Kafka, but might even procure you gainful employment of some sort, such as parsing Kafka or getting a government grant to study exactly how one parses Kafka. We know this because we saw it on the web (a tip of the crowquill to the learned Dave Haan for bringing this to our attention) and even better, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy which justifies the absolute Nonsense which this blog has been peddling for quite some time now.

Self-fulfilling prophecies were the stock-in-trade of all great thinkers such as Victor Hugo. We see him above as he appeared in that classic grimoire, The Dream Book of Mr Pyridine. Dream books are a peculiarly American, and more precisely, Southern phenomenon; they were (and are) printed collections of various oneiric images which one might see in one’s sleep. When awakening, one refers to the dream book to discover the occluded meaning of the image or event, and more to the point, the accompanying numerical digits which correspond to the winning combination of that day’s numbers racket or lottery.

Such dream books were the preserve of the lower classes, needless to say. The Southern bourgeoisie (see above) had no truck with ‘em, preferring to take their auguries from the shifting patterns of the ice cubes melting at the bottom of their bourbon glasses.

In any case, the belief that the future can be revealed to us and in essence, that everything must mean something is a common delusion of not just the working classes but homo sapiens in general. Animals are not burdened with such risible mental baggage. Like Lewis Carroll’s Snark Hunters, they accept reality for what it is, moment by moment, and consider the very concept of the Future to be the only genuine Nonsense.

À suivre …