Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Snark Gibson Show

I'm posting earlier than usual because I'll be appearing on the CBC Radio One in Montreal this Sunday morning, Jan. 30, 8-9 a.m. local time. The inimitable Dave Bronstetter will be interviewing me and I am hoping for an unusually vivid mental picture of my Snark GN to be broadcast into the snowy ether of Quebec. The Montreal feed can be heard here (I hope).

Many thanks to everyone at Drawn & Quarterly who both hosted and assisted me in my presentation & signing last night, Rory, Julia and Fiona. And thanks to everyone who showed up, a good time was had by all and no one softly and silently vanished away.

Several members of the audience expressed surprise at my assumption that the Snark was a she-Snark. I thought it was rather obvious … the perpetual lateness for meals, the lack of humor and the tendency to bite and scratch when cornered.

Male Snarks are entirely different. I leave it to female Snarkologists to fill us in on their shortcomings, fair's fair, I think.

Meanwhile, the above stanzel is a hearty quatrain of Lewis Carroll’s finest Snark vintage embellished with a festive pattern of squiggles, lines and dots which correspond to a semi-hallucinatory circus vision of Friedrich Nietzsche masquerading as a Bonnet-Maker while the Second-Greatest-French-Novelist-Ever, Raymond Roussel, exerts himself as a Billiard-Marker and dares to chalk the Prussian’s nose.

We have already had a laugh at Nietzsche’s expense, exposing the risible connection between himself and all things Bonnet, and quite frankly, the very words "Prussian philosopher" can provide sufficient innocent merriment for anyone's purposes.

As for the Billiard-Marker Raymond Roussel, it is his destiny here to powder the Nietzsche’s nose for all eternity, both of them suspended high above the circus audience, plummeting towards the earth at a frightening velocity. Roussel maintains his Gallic sang-froid with his customary grace. In fact, it may truly be said that after an initial, youthful setback, no earthly mishap or reversal ever again disturbed his composure or determination to write the Great French Novel!

To every young person who genuinely burns with a desire to make Art I say — look to Roussel! Look to him who, when asked what he thought of the Great War, remarked only that he had never seen so many men! Study this adept of Cartesian logic, who, when asked by a Parisian friend for some memento of his travels in India, mailed her an electric heater! Reflect upon the sagacity of the author who, when searching for an illustrator for his verse masterpiece, hit upon the brilliant device of employing a detective agency to find a suitable artist!

"I shall reach the heights; I was born for dazzling glory. It may be long in coming, but I shall have a glory greater than that of Victor Hugo or Napoleon … No author has been or can be superior to me … As the poet said, you feel a burning sensation at your brow. I felt at once that there was a star at my brow and I shall never forget it."


  1. I trust that's a gratuitous Elkin reference in the title, since FoxNewsRadio's John Gibson Show would suggest a different sort of burning sensation.

  2. You betcha, Dave! It's the old Dick Gibson Show, which is a very funny and sadly neglected novel these days. I guess Elkins is dead now, no idea really … him and Stanley Crawford, they always made this Snark Hunter chuckle.